She was really happy, and as my Dad says all the time, "when your kids are happy, life is good."
We were thankful many of her friends were able to come a week late.
Her turning 5 is a big deal to her and to me.
Coincidentally, we had Anna Cate's 5th birthday party at Splitsville, too.The wall has seen some wear and tear in four years.
So has has my parenting. I didn't do handmade favors or have a custom outfit made for Molly's party, as I had for Anna Cate. I reused the hat and made a last minute Etsy order of a #5 tshirt. I could feel guilty and share on this blog (for posterity) all the excuses -- when Anna Cate was turning 5, she went home to TN for a couple weeks before her party and I had a baby going to sleep at 7 every night, so I had time. I enjoyed the season in my life when I could do the extra touches, yet rather than lament the time I don't have or my unwillingness to lose sleep or workout minutes over those details, I am going to focus on the fact that Molly was happy and my pleasure that there are are places like Splitsville to make parties happen. She knows she is loved and celebrated.
At the end of the month, we enjoyed a visit from Nana, Aunt Becki and Kitty, whose spring break coincided with Anna Cate's birthday. Molly and Kitty went to DC with Mom and Becki. I let Anna Cate stay home from school one day for them to go to a movie and enjoy each other's company. On Saturday, we attended a community Easter party.
This year rather than a party, Anna Cate got an experience. So on her actual birthday, her experience was a trip to the zoo, dinner and cupcakes at Georgetown cupcakes. The zoo was a hit.
After the zoo, we headed to Georgetown for what I thought was the main experience for Anna Cate.
And it was fun, I think. . .but to be honest, it wasn't the best part of the day. Molly and Kitty were tired and traffic was heavy and I got flustered about which way dinner was and Mom got fussy because she didn't get the group picture she had dreamed of. But life isn't always going to work out where everyone in the picture is ready to be there, and we have to accept that it's ok.
The very next day, at a yoga class the instructor made two comments that really found meaning in my life. The first was in yoga poses (and in life), the struggle is to find balance between effort and ease. I can apply this in celebrating my children. Sometimes, the effort doesn't always produce more happiness; I had this perfect experience planned to DC cupcakes but it wasn't great for the whole family.
The other sentiment shared by the teacher is a call to find yourself in the space between the breaths, that is where life is (I'm paraphrasing of course.
The "in between" moments of family time or the less-planned activities we experience create the life-force available to us in the most authentic ways. What Anna Cate and Molly might remember about their birthdays might not be exactly what I planned, but it may be more important.
“If you want to find God, hang out in the space between your thoughts.” Alan Cohen. -- found on a yoga inspirational website
"If you want to find God and happiness with your family, enjoy your children and family time in between all the planned activities." -- Sarah King