Three years ago I gave birth to my first daughter, Alyce Mary, named after my crazy wonderful maternal grandmother, Mary Alyce. Alyce was this tiny present we received for Hannukah and Matt and I were goofy with excitement to have her all for ourselves. All those Decembers ago, we returned to our apartment with our two-hour old baby girl and showed up for our first night as parents. While this might fall under the category of the annoyingly obvious, our lives changed forever that night.
Fast forward three years, and Alyce is running into our bedroom, having found the birthday crown I had made for her the night before, declaring that it is her birthday. Even the cats could taste the excitement in the air. Our little Alyce was now a preschooler. Not a tiny toddler, learning how to maneuver around the furniture or grasping at words she didn't yet understand. No, things had changed that morning. She was now a potty-using, self-dressing, dramatic monologue-giving preschooler. And she knew it. This was big.
I love birthdays and I'm certain that I've passed down my fondness for celebrations to Alyce. This time it started with my birthday in October, which was closely followed by my mum's birthday in November. And I can't forget my little brother and sister (seven and three, respectively), who also celebrated birthdays this fall. Alyce and I mailed many handmade birthday cards, tasted birthday cakes, and wrapped many presents. You see where I'm going with this: she was excited, and on that Saturday morning, she was asking for cake by seven. She knew was was due her and she wasn't ashamed to ask for it. I can respect that.
What I love about birthdays is the chance to just get really excited and to enjoy the people I love. It doesn't matter whose birthday it is really, it's just the day I love. I enjoy spoiling people with good food and little things that make them smile. I also enjoying being on the receiving end, for sure. One year I woke up on my birthday and found that Matt had wrapped up the cats (not very well, but it made me smile all day to think of Pomegranate's sour face framed by some great polka dot paper). I love birthday breakfasts, lunches, and coffee dates. And some of my favourite memories are those great birthday dinners with friends, a tradition I was introduced to by my roommates at university, that I think I can say with some certainty, I have perfected as I've gotten older. Birthdays give you a chance for polishing your celebration skills since they happen every year.
So I want to begin these traditions for Alyce. I want to start small--she is only three after all, and there is no need to stress out the poor girl with a giant party with clowns (shudder). So this year it was about the little details: the birthday crown, the fairy garland hanging above the table, the chocolate cake, and a little party with her nana and a couple of grown-up friends (for our sake). It was a wonderful, wonderful day.
We took this picture of the three of us while we waited for our few guests to arrive. We aren't just the three of us anymore, but sometimes we need to take just a moment and celebrate just Alyce.
p.s. One week later, she's still singing happy birthday to herself at least once a day. Happy Birthday Alyce. Love, mama.