My eyes are burning from exhaustion, fingers are swollen from sangria dehydration, jeans are leaving permanent skin indents from overindulgence. Could only mean one thing – That was a very merry birthday party.
Let’s go down the rabbit hole, shall we?
It all started last Friday as we put Wonderland on Wheels and headed to Upstate New York’s in-law abode that could accommodate the large guest list much better than our cozy rental. The brass key wasn’t fitting in our Boston keyhole – a home of which half is filled with inflatable toys. We would have been using rocking horses as miniature seats and hitting our heads on ceilings after taking oversized bites on the ‘Eat Me’ petit fours if Lyla’s 1st birthday party was to be held in Beantown. Cramped much? Instead we created a family festival with enough room for floating helium balloons, singing flowers, Mad Hats, clanking horseshoes, tart Jolly Ranchers in tea cups, a perfect Cheshire Cat cake, and Alice in a tutu.
And what festival would be complete without a Jester? Best dressed Mike.
As I bounced around to and from each lawn chair toadstool gathering, the moment-capturing Canon swinging on my neck as it never left my side, it was clear that all I could sense was heartfelt appreciation. Leaking out from my White Queen getup like bright radiant light on the first 65 degree spring day we’ve seen all year. Beams of appreciation for Lyla of course, awakening all of our eyes to what really matters in life.
Appreciation for Troy & I, for actually surviving our first year as parents –
- 2,920 diapers changed.
- 3,854 oz. or 31 GALLONS of breastmilk pumped.
- 1,825 bottles washed.
- 1,264,729 kisses given.
Well done honey.
Appreciation for our family & close friends who supported us from Day 1’s hospital room. The words of encouragement and the shoulders to lean on when times were challenging. The You can do it!‘s and comment love have been our scaffolding as we build our pyramid high into the sky.
Appreciation for tutus – you just can’t get enough of them.
Appreciation for the perfect card given by the perfect aunt who made a perfect cake. Take that Cake Boss.
Appreciation that a circle of friends could love a little girl so much, all she can do is smile when she meets you.
Appreciation for my Down Syndrome family as I like to call them. To enter into a world on April 10, 2010 with emotions of No one understands. No one gets it. No one will ever know a minute of our life. You provide a sense of validation for me to throw that loneliness in the trash. We now connect over morning coffee and tales of the cardiologist with intermittent bites of coffee cake. I love it. And I love you all.
As the fun party go-ers were advancing for their goodbye hugs, my painful solo thought was Wait, I barely got to catch up with you on how the wedding plans are going! or I missed the chance to see how that precious little grandchild of yours doing! Like her first year, the day flew by too fast. Couldn’t stop and smell the Queen’s red roses. I could literally see the white rabbit frantically running around singing We’re late, we’re late! I felt like I wanted to take each of you out for a 4-hour tea brunch to gab over cucumber cream cheese finger sandwiches & bronzed chamomile on the current events in our lives and the emotions that branch from them. The hamster wheel called Lyla Maintenance and Party Photography prevented the deep talks that make my heart full at parties. Instead I relished on peeping my eye through a lens to document one of the days that goes down in the thick parenting history book as Chapter 2 “First Birthday Party”, thereafter Chapter 1 “The Day You Were Born”.
I could only hope my lost conversations were transported into emotion as we gathered around the dimly lit living room to gaze at the projected Lyla’s World: A Mom’s Diary Through Facebook video tribute. The tissue box made its way around the circle, chuckles roared as we watched Weeble Wobble Lyla learning to sit. Tears ran down our cheeks as the slides transitioned over her surgery recovery images. Grins from ear to ear as she discovered pink frosting on the 12 foot screen. It was the perfect ending to appreciate these little moments our bundle of tutus gave us. Ones we can never get back, but can always be remembered from Chapter 2’s illustrations.
Now we must all gulp the “Drink Me” emerald glass bottle to awaken from this magical Wonderland dream. Hurry your tush, the Queen is shouting “Off with her head!!!” Rub those tired eyes, arm stretch over your dizzy head, back to reality we all must go. But don’t forget your Madhatter party favor full of aromatic tea bags and fruity candy that gets stuck in your teeth.
Thank you all for being there. Where shall we go next year?!