A cool part about having kids at a young age is they come into your life during different phases. Sure, this is true of every family, but it's especially notable when you decide to get married and have kids jut out of college. Ella is the baby who has endured something with us. She's moved apartments and states with us, she was the one who made us into parents and endured all our first-time parenting snuffs and successes. She's the baby who endured postpartum depression with me, the one who made me smile despite the deep pain I was fighting to overcome. She's the baby we really budgeted for, the one who has very much only gotten what she's needed and no more. She's been with us for nearly the entirety of our marriage, through which we've faced challenges and yielded much growth. I've always carried a little twinge of guilt with me, that Ella hasn't been showered with all extravagant outward signs of love that some little ones experience. She never had a freshly painted nursery waiting for her arrival and her newborn wardrobe consisted of my top drawer in my Ikea dresser.
I say this because we tried to make this birthday a little extra special for her this year. She didn't get a first birthday; our apartment was packed in boxes as we moved just a couple days later. This year we baked a tall cake, we bought balloons, and we bought her a new table for her play area. She got a treat on our usual morning coffee run, we spent the day opening and playing with presents from those who were generous enough to send her happy birthday love in the mail. And, to top it off, her cousins came over in the evening which is seemingly all Ella wanted. It's all about that cousin play time for her. They blew bubbles and played with puzzles and ran around.
On Ella's first birthday, I went to bed with a full heart. Though we weren't able to give her a party, we said I love you, hugged her extra tight. And I know that's what matters. But this year, I went to bed with an even fuller and happy heart because we got to witness her run around with all that 2-year-old birthday joy. And she was happy, really happy. It was her day, but we got the best gift.
A pink cake.
Extra bright birthday smiles!
We didn't know how she would like her balloons...
But she loved 'em!
Her new play table.
Eating her lunch on a paper plate ('cause she loves them).
And the best part of a birthday? Left over cake. Ohh yeahh.
(Vlog of the day coming soon!)