We did it! We are successfully through each of our boys birthdays and parties. Christian was SO excited for his party. It made my heart so happy to see how much he was looking forward to it, how much he wanted to have a party. When the day came, he was beside himself. He set up all of the kids' chairs at the kids' table- all by himself. He jumped around for joy as I filled each balloon with helium, and proclaimed excitedly each time someone new walked into the room: "Mommy is going to make a bouquet out of the balloons!!" He was excited about his costume for his "Fancy, Pool, Costume Party": A Monkey hat, a swim shirt and trunks, a tie, and a monkey tail sewn onto the back of his swim trunks.
I found inspiration for the party from one of Christian's favorite stories, "I Am Invited To A Party", by Mo Willems. In it, the Piggie gets invited to a party and invites his Elephant friend who "Knows parties!" The Elephant worries, What if it is a Fancy party? Then as they are dressed for a fancy party he worries, What if it is a Pool party? Then as they have added to their outfits, he worries again, What if it is a Costume party? By this point Piggie questions him, A Fancy, Pool, Costume Party??!! But the Elephant insists, He knows parties. Sure enough, when they attend the party, everyone is dressed in their Fancy, Pool, Costume attire and Piggee exclaims, You do know parties!
Most of the kids came dressed to the nines...
It was barely 70 degrees when the party rolled around, but it was just warm enough, and I knew that to a bunch of 4 year olds, the temperature wouldn't matter- they would party like a bunch of rockstars when Slip and Slides and pools were involved. And I was right.
It was such a fun party and it made me so happy to see Christian so happy. He was practically purple from being cold but he couldn't care less- he was in heaven! I worried when we first received Elijah's diagnosis, that due to all of the additional attention and therapies he would need, that Christian would feel overshadowed or less important. I'm sure it's something I'll always want to be aware of, but so far that has definitely not been the case! He gets lots of love and attention and at four years old is always quick to try to steal the attention anyway! :)
We were doubly blessed that Charles' Mom was able to visit during Christian's Birthday party and preparations for it. We all enjoyed having her around- especially during a time that she has not yet gotten to experience and it was extra nice to have an additional set of hands on deck for all of the preparations! Perhaps one of the nicest aspects to her being out here, was the fact that Charles and I actually got a "date night". Life is so often about "passing the baton"- Can you be home this night while I work and I'll be home that night while you work? Did this bill get paid? Do we have money to pay that bill now or later? It's kind of the grind of reality. But, it's so easy to forget what you like about each other. All of the experts talk about the necessity of "date nights"...of having time just for the two of you. We KNOW! We KNOW! But reality just doesn't always allow that- especially when finances are involved. Charles and I want to have time for just each other. We know we need time for just each other. But it just doesn't often work out that way. So, as I sat across from him at dinner the other night, I suddenly said, "You know what? I really like you. I'm really glad I married you." Because it was so nice to talk about something other than kids schedules and bills and work. I've also recently had a reality check. Someone I'm very, very close to is having a very difficult challenge in her marriage. A challenge where her marriage might not be able to be saved. It was a wake up call to me and inspired part of our conversation in which I asked if there's anything I'm not doing, or that he needs me to be doing within our relationship so that he feels cared about. It was a great conversation. The kind where you realize the real reasons you are making it and will likely always make it is because we communicate. It was one of the first things I fell in love with Charles about. That although his communication style may not always be perfect, he is always willing.
I'm feeling a lot of satisfaction right now, mixed with a little bit of relief. We've managed through not only two beautiful parties in celebration of our boys' births, but a wonderful visit with family, and a chance for Charles and I to re-connect for a little while. That's huge. That is a chance to feel ready to face the day to day challenges once again. Until August. When it is my turn to celebrate another birthday. This is a landmark year. The big 4-0. I am convincing myself that 40 is the new 30, and frankly I don't look 40 anyway.