These two weeks mid summer are a crazy haze of celebrating: Juniper one week then Wylie the next, Mimi's birthday two days later, followed by our anniversary. This year Juniper's celebration was a sweet, quiet Saturday event with sugar cereal for breakfast--a special treat, a trip to city park pool (her choice), and a small gathering of friends and cousins. Wylie's bash will be just that--a crowd of all the friends he's known since birth, and their parents and siblings (most of whom are Juni's best friends so she gets a double party). Its really just a handful of families, but all those people add up fast. Followed by a sleepover with just the oldest boys and hours of borrowed Wii and movies.
I am not a person that gets bent out of shape about parties. Nor do I over plan, with matching napkins, favors, party games etc. I like to keep things simple. The kids write an invitation, we plan a small party favor, make a cake, or root beer floats (Juni's favorite) and call it good. Its typically a potluck affair with some grilling. This year I got fancy and poked some straws through the lids of Ball Jars and attached each child's name with a rubber band (no pictures but you get the idea). They looked very sweet all lined up together, and saved on dishes without the need for wasteful juice boxes.
However, even with very little prep and planning it is easy to get caught up in the festivities and overlook the real reason for celebration. My sweet girl is 7 now. She is nearly as tall and as heavy as her brother. She is all muscle and grins. She is all heart and sass. She is a climber, a hanger, a leader, a nurturer, and my most reliable helper. Next week Wylie will be 9. I call him "knees" these days. The roundest part of his body are his eyeballs. He is wiry and wily--aptly named. He is learning the art of appropriate sarcasm and can sometimes be quite witty. He is proud of his reading and is learning to swim. He has become a good pal to Kale. So many new things from last summer.
All that sugar (root beer floats, lime aid, fruit salad, and lollipops--geesh), children racing and chasing, balloon bopping, shrieking, and movie watching is a fun aside. But in the calm after the storm its nice to sit and enjoy what the day really means. My children are growing into themselves.
When they were toddlers their birthdays felt, selfishly like my days. A day when I really reflected on each of their births, told them their birth story and celebrated their joining our family. Now that they are older we still do that, but it feels somehow different. The momentous event of birth itself is so much about the mother. But, no matter how long the labor, birth is a very brief event in a child's life and from then on they become who they will, who they are. I feel grateful to be able to celebrate with my children on a day is fully theirs, to appreciate who they are and who they are quickly becoming. Happy Birthdays kiddos.