Today is Bailey's first birthday.
We've only been in Hawaii a couple months, and so the idea was to do something low-key, just a handful of Rob's new colleagues and a few beers. But apparently, a baby's first luau is a HUGE deal in Hawaii, and before we knew it we had a Costco trolley so full I had to get into a cross-fit lunge to move it, a bouncy castle so big that it barely fit in the garden, and 30 guests, most of whom I was meeting for the first time.
It was lovely. We went all out with the nautical theme, and one of Rob's amazing colleagues baked us 50 sailboat cupcakes and cookie favours. Bailey was of course clueless, slightly feverish, and somewhat perturbed by all the commotion and new faces (I had my fingers crossed the whole day that he wouldn't burst into tears during the 'happy birthday' song!).
Today, as I clear up the remains of yesterday's party, it's just me and the boy at home. It can't just be any old day... How can I make a 1 year old feel extra special on his birthday?
Bailey doesn't really have any favourite cartoon characters or obsessions yet (except putting anything and everything into his mouth, including a garden slug the other day!!); he can't eat cake because of his milk allergy; he doesn't have the faintest idea what a 'birthday' even is; and he's more interested in the crinkly wrapping paper than he is in all his presents!
So I keep thinking about what makes Bailey smile. Well, he loves it when we dance, sing, play peekaboo, make silly noises... Basically, the goofier the better. And goofiness requires commitment and energy! You can't be half-hearted about it. Bailey susses that out immediately. Half-heartedness bores him and he lets it be known.
And then I realise, it's actually simpler than that. This little guy doesn't want presents. He wants presence. Goofy, whole-hearted, presence.
And so my love, today, on your 1st birthday, I promise to be more present. I'll try my best not to rush you, or humour you, or multi-task you. Because you, our little hero, our little miracle boy, our most terrifying close call and our most cherished second chance, you came back fighting to teach us just that. With your little patched-up lion-heart, you taught us how to live more wholeheartedly. Because, considering all the universal forces that conspired to bring you back to us, it would be downright rude and spoilt of us to forget that the present moment is the best present we're ever going to get. C x