I love parties. Anything that has high potential for cake is an event worth having. As I prepare and put final touches on Reece’s birthday party, I scroll back and meander through photos of my other boys’ birthdays. Our friends and family gathered in our starter home to see Baby’s first taste of sugar. (Well, Dane’s first taste of sugar. I’m pretty sure my father sneaked a sip or two of Mountain Dew to Grant one time before he could crawl.) Everyone sings Happy Birthday and we pretend the baby blows out the candle before we wait with baited breath until the frosting reaches the baby’s mouth. There is a video of my firstborn’s cake experience. My father’s voice in the background sounds like he is going up a steep rollercoaster and excitedly coming down the other side as the realization from Baby breaks that cake is A-mazing.
My husband has been encouraging me to not go overboard and just do things the easy way. Typically, I make the cake from scratch. This time it was suggested to me to purchase a designed cake from our grocery store. So I went to place the order. Apparently with an order of a first birthday cake, they provide a complimentary smash cake for the birthday baby. Ouch. I did not see that coming. I stood in the bakery section, muffled by bagels and baguettes, and felt the tears welling up. Things were awkwardly quiet as I composed myself as best I could.
“Well, this birthday party is for a baby that was born at rest so there is no baby to smash the cake.” My voice wavered. My head spun with solutions. “Perhaps four cupcakes could be frosted together for our family to enjoy on his actual birthday.”
Cake has never made me cry before. Reece sure knows how to bring about a “first for everything,” experience.
I have had the luck of having three sons born in three different seasons. That makes party planning extra fun. Dane was born in late winter, which means he’ll have a big turn out because everyone is stir-crazy and need to get the kids some novelty.
Grant was born at the end of April, just as the tulips are coming on and the birds are building their nests. Water balloons, ice cream sundaes, and BBQ for him!
Reece was born in fall: pumpkins and leaves and all things orange. My husband thinks I am beginning to go a bit overboard as I finalize the menu and pick decorations. He would be wise to revisit the past. I almost ALWAYS go overboard. Every party our kids have is usually full of food and people, kids running amok, rearranging furniture, adults milling about the snack tables. Planning a birthday party for Reece is no different than planning one for the other boys.
There is one glaring difference, however. I carefully navigate the fact that there is no birthday boy sitting in a high chair for everyone to watch. No special tshirt, no silly hat, no rollercoaster sound effects. Does the song still get sung? Does the candle still get blown out? These are questions I never considered.
One thing is for sure. This is not a sullen event. Even though we are sad he is gone, we are still incredibly happy he was here. The invite list for a baby’s first birthday generally includes the people who saw you through the first year. This party will be no different. This has been one hell of a year. I miss my littlest dude every day. But I would rather ache until the day I die than to have never felt his kicks and his demands for popcorn and noodles. I see my other boys growing and I want them to celebrate their brother. Celebration is always made better by cake, even if, for a moment, the cake makes you cry.