Baby’s First Birthday

I can’t believe my daughter Eileah’s first birthday party has gone and went. We still have the decorations up four days later! It’s been hard to let go of that day; you can imagine how our weekend went. This year her birthday fell on a Thursday so Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we were still in that happy bubble, watching Disney movies and playing together.

The Party

I had been stressing about Eileah’s birthday for months. It’s the same thing you’ve heard before: first-time mom wanting to make everything perfect for her first born.

Since Eileah’s childhood has been mermaid themed since day one (because I wanted Little Mermaid everything when I was growing up) I wanted to make my little mermaid’s birthday party mermaid themed. Isn’t it crazy how we moms do all the things we wish our moms had done for us when we were little?

I thank my husband for stepping in because it saved me in the end. He advised me to not put such pressure on myself to have everything to do with the party figured out so in advance. I don’t know what possessed me, but I actually took his advice. And wouldn’t you know it, a couple months before the party I found myself simplifying the whole thing anyway. I wonder if in that space of time acclimating to motherhood I had learned how important it is to make things easy on yourself.

The first thing I did was cancel our mermaid macarons order. I know! This was a huge deal for me to do. I realized our guests would probably not have enough room for dinner, cake, and macarons. Nothing is worse than getting all excited about something but nobody being able to appreciate it.

Next came deciding on the food. My husband and I decided to make reservations at one of our favorite restaurants in Tinley Park, Tokyo Steakhouse, and we’d pay for everyone who came. No cooking, no clean-up. Smartest decision ever for a first birthday. All we’d have to focus on would be wrangling Eileah and having a good time with everyone. What’s really great about a Hibachi restaurant is that it’s like dinner theater. Your little one will be entertained and therefore distracted enough for you to enjoy your drinks and the yummy food.

And last but not least, the cake. We decided to invite everyone back to our house for the ceremonial “Happy Birthday” and cake back at our home. I ordered a beautiful customized mermaid cake from Tinley Park business Creative Cakes. I spent over $100 on it, but the smash cake was free. They even said they’d draw turquoise scales on the smash cake at no extra charge. You’ve got to splurge on at least one thing for your child’s birthday and I decided rather than buy an expensive new dress for her or spend too much on a gift, I wanted to invest in a special memory: her first cake.

For decor I went to Party City and got lucky that they had mermaid’s 1st birthday plates, napkins, and a banner. But I couldn’t leave without ordering a special balloon. The most perfect Little Mermaid balloon, made everything feel complete.

Looking Back On The First Year

So the party is over and it’s time to pack up the decor and let the balloon deflate. In my reflection I’ve come to find that once you’ve passed the one year mark you know you can take more as a parent. Not to downplay war, but effectively the first year is a battlefield of dirty diapers, sleep deprivation, getting hit in the face with any number of things, colic, spit up, and a whole host of other unmentionables. But there’s also cuddles, kisses, and eyes that look at you as the center of their universe. You know it’s going to get rougher with each stage of life, but you’ve built up the stamina and mental attitude to proceed into the future of milestones and madness. Every year you get better at handling what life and your child will throw at you. But you also learn how to take care of yourself, at least that’s what our generation of moms are learning to do better. Eileah’s first birthday party is the perfect example of me making it easy on myself.

I look back on Eileah’s first year as a wild day at a beach. There were days where the waves were colossal and dragged me down. But also on those days I felt like the sun was shining on me, especially these last few months. Eileah has this habit of walking quickly towards me to hug me tight before she’s off on an adventure to explore the kitchen, living room or wherever, and I forget all the work she has and will make for me. Every day is like that moment at her party when she got her smash cake. I know going into it that she’s going to make a mess, but rather than worry about the ruining of her white and gold shiny dress or something else, I focus on the fact that nothing is a big enough deal to take away from my joy or my daughter’s.

Birthdays are about everyone having a good time, not just the person at the center of the party. And how we live our life should be in the same way. Don’t make things harder on yourself or make everything a big deal. Use what you have and remember that anything that goes wrong will be forgotten. Focus on having a good time and making light of any disappointments.

So as we begin this second year of Eileah’s life I’m not worrying about the next party, I’m focused on what’s for dinner and what we’re going to watch as a family for the evening. Staying in the present and not going too in advance with things has been what has helped me as a mom in all areas.


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