Two days before Mary Virginia’s birthday, Tom and I were outside cleaning up the back yard and Tom got stung by a bee.
Since Tom grew up in a suburban utopia where the only bees were ornamental, it took over 30 minutes for me to convince him that it was, in fact, a bee sting. He was further convinced when we found a bunch of bees swarming a nest where he was just standing.
A bee nest. In our backyard. The backyard where 25 children were coming to join us for cake and presents. Weeee!
The night before the party, Tom, the kids and I were headed to Costco and get all the food, and our car battery was dead.
I lost my camera charger, I burned three, three, batches of quinoa, and two families couldn’t make it at the last minute because of sickness.
If we lived our lives by signs we would have cancelled the party.
But we didn’t, and it’s a good thing, because (turns out) bee nests aren’t that hard to get rid of, you can get more quinoa at the store, and mostly because we have an adorably sweet one-year old reason to celebrate.
We got rid of the bees and the backyard filled up with friends, family, and lots and lots of little ones, and we had a really, really fun time.
We had the party in our backyard and were blessed with really, really great weather. I mentioned this already, but I was nervous about the weather because our house isn’t really prepared for 20+ kids. Is any house ready for that amount of energy? That amount of excitement? That many sippy cups and snack bags?
These days lots of my friends have at least one child, some have more. Some have a lot more. But even though the adults were nearly outnumbered and the kids had free access to lemonade, the whining and screaming was minimal. Almost nonexistent. And any time there was whining, the adults just wandered back over for another glass of sangria and the whining sort of drifted away.
Right, Uncle Steve?
Mary Virginia is pretty picky, so I wasn’t sure what she would think of her birthday cupcake. David wasn’t a picky eater at all at her age, and he was really hesitant to eat his birthday cake.
But Mary Virginia didn’t need much encouragement. She loved her cupcake. She ate the entire thing.
My mom can’t eat flour, so she couldn’t eat cupcakes. Instead of forgoing dessert, she made a wheat-free cheesecake, sliced a big piece for my dad and my brother, and the three of them excused themselves to a top-secret discreet location. The corner of our yard. Great hiding place, guys. In case you think that’s my brother’s charming, smile, you’re wrong. It’s his “you totally caught me eating cheesecake while everyone else is eating dry cupcakes” smile.
While everyone was still eating cupcakes (and cheesecake), I quietly carried Mary Virginia over to the blanket and started opening gifts. I didn’t make an announcement, sing a special “I’m about to open the gifts!” song, or shine a spotlight on us …but I suppose kids have some sort of sensor — similar to the altimeter all babies have that tell them if you’re sitting or standing — but this sensor lets them know if there are gifts being opened in their presence so they can swarm in to help.
The kids, though they were all really, really excited, were also very patient helpers. If you find yourself with a big pile of gifts that need to be opened, I know a bunch of kids that would love to help you.
Mary Virgina and her very own Skip Hop backpack. She loves these things. She shrieks when she sees them and tackles unsuspecting little girls and boys who happen to walk by wearing them. Now she has one of her own.
One by one, friends picked a favor and headed home. I checked my watch and was shocked to see it was past bedtime. (Another function of having lots of friends with kids — every party ends at 7:30 lest the children explode.)
Perhaps that’s the best sign that we had a great evening. As a mom with two kids under three, I spend lots of time looking at my watch in shock that it’s not bedtime yet. But when we’re with friends and family and passing around a platter of cupcakes, every time I checked my watch an hour had passed. Then suddenly the night was over.
Thanks for celebrating our little girl, and for all of the support and love you’ve shown us since the day she was born.
Here’s to the first of many, many celebrations.