This morning I received an email from an elementary school friend showing off the photos of her son’s first birthday party. Once I got over the cuteness of his deep blue eyes and his round apple cheeks, I was struck by the realization that these photos mean he’s one. It seems like just yesterday she was emailing me to ask me advice about starting him on solids and just the day before we were receiving his birth announcement in the mail.
In our house, just like in many other homes, the first birthday party was the biggest we’ve ever thrown for both girls. People joke that it’s silly to have a big party for a one year old, that they won’t remember it other than when looking at photo albums, that it’s really just for the parents, and in so many ways they’re right. No-one remembers their first birthday party. Frankly most kids don’t even enjoy their first party!
Nevertheless, the first birthday party is crucial to parents. That first year flies by in a flurry of sleepless nights and soaring emotions and it comes as a shock to all that it ends so quickly. The first birthday party is a way to celebrate that everyone made it through the first year, a way to mark the passage of time and the shift from surviving the day to day of infancy to enjoying watching baby discover the world.
We had cake and laughed when the girls turned up their noses at the frosting and then we heaved a sigh of relief and moved on to the second year. The pictures snapped on those days help us remember that crucial transition.
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