Why I Threw a Big First Birthday Party

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My son recently celebrated his first birthday.

Well, let’s be real, I celebrated his first birthday. He just had a grand time tearing up wrapping paper and putting on a show for his many admirers. All of the decorations, food, and planning, went unnoticed by him. A truth that many, many people pointed out to me.

He’s too young to remember his first birthday. Why are you throwing such a big party?

Guess what. You’re right. He won’t remember it. He won’t understand how much time I put into coming up with snacks that perfectly matched the party theme. He won’t realize the struggle of cutting a watermelon into the shape of a hedgehog. He won’t care about the fact that people came from other parts of the state—even the country—to be there.

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But, here’s the thing…this party was more mine than his.

My husband and I survived a full year of parenthood. We made it through the colic, we made it through the allergies, the blowouts, the sleepless nights, the fear, the illnesses. And we didn’t do it alone.

So, coming up with snacks that perfectly matched the party theme allowed me to put a smile on the face of those who did the same for me when I was faced with postpartum depression. Struggling to cut a watermelon into the shape of a hedgehog meant adding laughter to a room full of people who helped drown out the cries of a colicky baby months before. And welcoming those who traveled from other cities into my home felt like the best family reunion there could ever be.

Yes, we were celebrating my son. But, let’s be honest—we were celebrating a year of making it. 365 days of figuring things out, changing diapers, warming bottles, feeding at midnight, buckling car seats, dropping off at day care, and cutting food into tiny particles.”

If I wanted to throw a Pinterest birthday party, why not? If my son doesn’t remember it, who cares? It was the best year of our lives, and it was a year worth celebrating.

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