I am a big birthday person. I LOVE them. Like really love them. They are full of happiness, kindness, excitement and just really damn special. I’ve always tried to have things planned (mostly the food) and the more people you can share it with the better. Which is lucky because my husband is one of those miserable about being a year older kind of birthday people and his is the day before mine. Someone has to make that week fun!!!
For a birthday enjoyer to be honest I’ve had my fair share of crappy birthdays. There was that one at primary school when I had a raging pneumonia. Then the one at intermediate where I was literally DYING of tonsillitis, in fact I’m pretty sure there have been at least three tonsillitis birthdays (don’t worry, those bad boys have been removed, life is so much better but that’s a story for another day). My dad passed away two days before my 20th birthday, so I was pretty keen for birthdays not to exist that year. And to be honest ever since then they have had this shadow over them that is hard to shake.
This year although I still made sure my birthday had some excellent food and a little fun it wasn’t the most significant birthday in my mind anymore. It’s amazing (and everyone tells you this but you still don’t quite get it) how everything that was important in your life before children really doesn’t matter once you have them. Now, the only birthday of true significance is Charlie and Oliver’s.
I know a lot of people struggle with our approach sometimes, we do tend to focus on the hard stuff, the sad stuff, the stuff that tears you apart. And so when we decided to take this first birthday as our day to fall apart I was reminded by so many people to celebrate the year milestone and the good things and how well Oliver is doing. But honestly, that isn’t what I wanted or needed to do. I want to do that for every single birthday he has after this one. I want there to be parties and friends, family, food and fun. I don’t want shadows on Oliver’s day because that’s not fair. But to do that we needed to have one big dark shadowy birthday. So that next year when the 29th of May comes around we know we have mourned the day and we can let the light in.
So thank you for letting us do yet another thing our way. Thank you for missing us while we are away and for giving us the space to just be. And thank you, massive massive thank you, to everyone who popped a little something into Oliver’s NICU birthday present. We are off to a fantastic start!!