Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Brady's First Birthday

I had been dreading and stressing out over my son's first birthday for several months. Why is it that us first time moms feel the need to get all worked up about planning the perfect birthday for our lil' one when they are never going to remember it anyway?

I can't tell you how many people reminded me of that fact over the last several months. I've experienced lot's of eye rolling and people telling me that I was being completely ridiculous to stress out over a one year old's birthday party.

But I wanted something wonderful to look back on. I suppose I was looking to build a memory for our family more so than for Brady since he won't remember it anyway. There's always pictures and videos for his viewing pleasure in the future. And the stories we tell him when he asks about it later. What kid later wants to hear "Oh, it was just an ordinary day. We knew you wouldn't remember it, so we didn't really do anything special."  Not something I want to tell my son!

First, I was thinking of planning a fun day at a local park. We could rent a covered picnic pavilion, grill out, have a few fun games for adults and children of all ages. Who wouldn't enjoy an afternoon at the park with good friends and family? Well, that plan backfired when all of the parks I was interested in were already reserved.

My bubble was burst. I couldn't think of another plan that felt right. I started thinking up this plan when Brady was nine months old, so the fact that it wasn't going to work out just like I had imagined was frustrating. I kept thinking that something would come available, someone would have a great suggestion that fit exactly what I was looking for. I asked everyone I knew for advice on locations and alternatives, but nothing felt quite right. Before I knew it, Brady's birthday was only a few weeks away. I had all of the grandparents flying into town with no party planned!

Panic mode set in about one month out, then intensified two weeks out when I STILL didn't have a confirmed plan. Nothing was really coming together and everything I tried fell through. I felt like I was a bad mom and I was failing miserably at pulling something together. Finally, I decided to take a friend's advice and just have something small at the house for the immediate family.

At first, I was thinking it was a lame effort on my part, but it turned out to be the perfect scenario for Brady's first birthday! I was so worried about our house being too small to accommodate everyone, but thankfully our deck was just the spot for a family dinner. The weather held out so we could relax and enjoy each other's company without outside interruptions. Brady ended up diving into his cake early (while we were all still eating dinner) because he was fading fast and needed to go to bed. Had we been out anywhere else, we couldn't have put him to bed and continued our celebration. It would have been nice to have some of our friends there to celebrate with us, but we only see our families a couple times a year, so this gave us an opportunity to share stories and reflect on good times.

Everything about Brady's birthday weekend was about family spending time together and celebrating Brady's life.

What I realized is that while I wasted all of that time worrying about planning the perfect party, the only thing that mattered was having meaningful time together as a family. We now all share a memory that will last a lifetime. Thankfully, we have some great stories to tell Brady when he's older along with some great pictures and videos! What more could a mom ask for?

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