well i think we’ve fully recovered from the wild one’s first birthday party. we had 90 of our friends and family (that’s right 90) over to our house friday night for what we called “ottopalooza” and that it was. we ate dinner outside on the most perfect summer night. different groups of friends mingled on the lawn and kids rolled in the garden. basically it was perfect.
there is a lot to be celebrated about any baby turning one. you’ve made it out of the infant stage. while it’s wonderful and beautiful.. it’s also really fricken hard. like… really hard. even with as good of a baby as otto is. even without all the health issues we’ve had this year. introducing a new person into your family unit and disrupting everything you know about life… is really HARD. and the fact that you’ve made it a whole year and still have some sanity left. that is a big fricken deal my friend. and it’s truly a reason to celebrate. all of it is a reason to celebrate.
otto wasn’t really sure about all the people at first but slowly he warmed up to the idea of it all. especially when he got to start ripping paper. what is it about kids loving to rip open paper? like here is all your gifts and yep ok have fun with the paper and cardboard box. we had a little celebration with family before all our friends came. we asked for donations to Helen Devos Childrens Foundation instead of gifts. thank you to all of you who donated. if you would like to still donate there is a link here.
while a part of me is a little sad that otto didn’t do the typical cake smash happy birthday i’ve just come to the realization that there will be other times for that. not everything has to be a photo op and just because he didn’t stick cake all in his face doesn’t mean he had any less of a birthday. he was nervous with all the people and it wouldn’t be good for him to sit in front and cry in front of a cake. so i did what any rational mother would do and ate it with my fingers after everyone left. i didn’t even grab a fork. i ripped that plastic cowboy off the top and ate it with my bare hands. quite frankly i think that will be a better story for him someday anyway.
this kid stayed out with his parents by the campfire until 11pm when the last guest left. i carried him asleep in my arms (first time he’s fallen asleep while being carried) and i sat in the bed for about 30 minutes holding him and committing to memory every square inch of his perfect face. i reflected on this past year of growth, hurdles and health and how far our family has come. how much we’ve all grown mentally and physically. i kept telling myself five more minutes five more minutes because i knew the second i put him in his bassinet he would wake up one day older. and the next morning it would begin this whole new journey of him growing into a toddler. and for those five, ten, thirty minutes i just wasn’t ready to let that happen. so i sat for a bit longer.
the only sure thing in life is there are no sure things. i don’t know what this next year holds for us. it could be a few check ups here and there or it could be a few surgeries here or there. but i do know that i am committed as is joe to giving this boy the most beautiful life we possibly can no matter what the future has in store. i remind myself constantly that God loves Otto and God loves us. he knows the path we are to take and he guided us this far and he will continue to guide is through the next and the next. it’s harder some days to fight off the what if’s but i’m becoming better at it each day. it’s taken me a year to learn what my triggers are for anxiety and when i feel them coming on i have to be proactive and do what’s best to reset my mind and heart so that i can remain strong and positive for otto.
having a child with congenital heart disease has taught me that nothing is promised. regardless of health. nothing on this earth is promised to us. it’s up to us what we do with these precious good moments and it’s also up to us how we preserver through uncertainty and deep valleys. i try to make a point to soak in as many good memories as possible. what do they smell like? what am i feeling right now. i try to take a literally mental photograph to store up in my mind bank when i need it the most.
so here we are a few days past ottos first birthday. i already feel like he is rapidly growing again. he is so smart and intuitive. i don’t think my heart could possibly love anything more than i love my little boy. thank you all so much for the kind words, donations and encouragement over this past year. joe, otto and i are so grateful. cheers!