Ari is one year old!
This post is overdue but I wanted to at least finish of his first year summary on this blog. For Ari’s actual birthday, we just took him to the park and he played and crawled around the playground until we could tell he needed a nap. Our original plan was to take him to the aquarium but we figured he’d have fun either way. We (Russ and I) also got ice cream (and shared a little bit with Ari). What I learned from Ari’s birthday celebration was that–and I’m not trying to sound selfish at all but–the child’s first birthday is just as much about the parents as it is about the kid. I mean, I love Ari to pieces but I carried that baby for nine months in my belly, pushed that 9 lb sucker out, and breastfed him for almost 11 months. Not to mention all the late nights and night feedings and crying and breakdowns that happened this past year. So yes, Russ and I also celebrated ourselves with some ice cream on Ari’s birthday because we did it. We made it to a year as parents!
The day after Ari’s birthday was his birthday party. I don’t even know where to start. It was wonderful. It was a blessing. We felt so loved. Ari felt tired. Everyone came. We were tired. It felt never-ending. It was the best of times and the worst of times. But then again, we made it through just like Ari’s first year.
Let’s get into the details since I didn’t really take any pictures. We went with a dinosaur theme. The decorations were dinosaur toys which Russell owned when he was little. I made his cake and cupcakes. My parents provided the food. We held the party at a local park. It was a success. The food came 30 minutes late (because, Filipino time) but everyone was fed.
If I could go back, I wouldn’t be so silly about making Ari’s desserts. The party started at 11 AM and at 10 AM I was still frosting the cupcakes. And then the frosting bag broke and frosting got everywhere. And I felt like crying. And I didn’t get to frost the cupcakes like I wanted but had to go old-school and just slab some frosting on top then cover it with sprinkles. Then I had to transport these cakes in the car, to the park, while hoping and praying they didn’t get ruined on the five minute drive over. Oy.
The party itself went by so fast. I am so thankful that everyone who came did. I wish I could somehow communicate to Ari that these were all people who already love him. In a way, his birthday felt like a wedding because we got to have so many people who we loved in one place. That alone made the party worth it. I remember being tired at the party and sitting down next to my older brother and asking him what made parents decide that throwing a first birthday party for a kid who won’t even remember, worth it. He said it’s mostly for the people–all the people who ask about the baby since the birth or only got to see the baby for a little while. And it’s true: Ari’s first birthday party felt like we were celebrating everyone who was even a little bit involved in Ari’s life. It was for the parents. It was for the guests. And because of that, it became about Ari.
One of the mom’s told me before she left that she didn’t get a present for Ari, she got one for me. At first I was confused, but after the party and cleanup, I understood her heart. I joked about how the party and birthday are about the parents but there’s a truth to that. Maybe when the kids are old enough, they’ll be able to hug their parents and thank them or say I love you. But for now, when the kids are still littles, it’s a wonderful moment when another mom looks you in the eye and wordlessly communicates, “I see you. And I know and understand.”
After the party, we took Ari home, gave him the nap he so badly wanted, then opened all his presents. He got some pretty awesome stuff. And our living room was a crazy mess for a couple days but it was worth it watching my son smile. Thank you to everyone who gifted him something.