This past weekend we celebrated our daughter’s first birthday with close family from both sides and friends that are like family in a way.
Initially, I had said a lot of things about the party. I wanted it to be small and special and intimate. I wanted to ensure that Sloane was the kid of the hour. I wanted her to feel special. And I feared that by having too many people, that by losing sight of the simple, it would be less special.
There’s something to be said about keeping things simple and small and intimate. But when you are one of eight children and your daughter is the 16th grandchild on that side, and the other side is filled with aunts and uncles and cousins galore, simple and intimate just isn’t in the cards.
I also was pretty clear at the beginning that I didn’t want a theme. Frankly, the thought that a kid’s first birthday party “needed” a theme these days VERY MUCH annoyed me. And it still does. Because turning one is special enough in itself.
And I wanted to avoid all pink everything. So I started thinking of ways I could avoid all pink. And in avoiding all pink, I thought about the book Horton Hears A Who, with an orange and blue cover and just hints of pink and that felt right. It also felt right because this book was one of the first books we ever read to our daughter when she was still an inside baby. We read it from the time she was “some sort of a creature of very small size, too small to be seen by an elephant’s eyes…”
It was fitting because at the time she was so little, I already felt like an elephant and then later on I really felt like an elephant, but it was also fitting because she was my small speck of dust and it was my job to protect her. I would undoubtedly get choked up at the mantra of the book, “a person’s a person no matter how small.” (SO DID GOOGLE COMMERCIALS).
I’m NOT saying that Dr. Seuss was writing pro-life doctrines… but his message that it’s the bigger person’s job to protect the little people is pretty universal. And S was my little person, before I could see her. And it was my job to make a lot of noise, to speak for her, when she couldn’t, to be her shelter from the wind.
So, I suppose it’s not so surprising then that my plans for a small intimate celebration became a party that “whooped up a racket” reminiscent of Whoville on that flower. Or that my daughter ended up wearing a lot of pink (like the clover). (Decorations were mostly blue and orange just saying.) Or that we had Seussian tree decorations.
It suddenly all felt very… right.
When we were putting up the decorations, I swear she could feel that things were different. All the colors and textures meant something was special. And the attention being lavished upon her, I swear she knew it was something special just for HER. She thrived, she squealed, she beamed. And I know she won’t remember it, but I will.
My goal was to make sure my daughter felt special despite of the crowd, and at the end of the day, she was more special BECAUSE of it.
Life is worth celebrating, and I am so blessed to have celebrated S’s first birthday with so many special people who have already shaped her life. And my daughter is so very lucky to have so many people who love her. Who were eager to join me in celebrating her life, and the fruit of our struggles, and love and loss and the life. Who were eager to help us shout on that cold night of February 24th, 2013 and again this past weekend:
She is here.
She is here
She is here.
She is here.
-quotes from Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears A Who