The day started and ended much like any other Saturday in our house. I got up, went to the gym, and came home in time for Parker to be taking his first nap of the day. He’s napped at 10:30 pretty much every single day since the day he was born. His internal clock is truly a work of art. Piper’s has never been anywhere near as precise as his.
Yesterday, though, I went into his room to look at my sleeping baby. I wanted to take it all in before he becomes a sleeping toddler. I don’t know how much longer he’ll suck his thumb when he’s tired or asleep. I don’t know when will be the last time that he will nap at 10:30.I knew that I wanted to document as much of his birthday party as possible since I won’t be home on his actual birthday. For some reason I have myself believing that if I just pretend that the day of his party is his birthday, I won’t be nearly as upset when I am sitting at work on May 29th at 10:11 in the morning.
My heart hurts thinking about how quickly this year has passed, and my mind has been drifting to those “am I enough?” questions that sometimes consume my heart and head. Did we cuddle enough? Did I teach him enough? Was I calm enough? Did I do enough? Am I enough?I started off the day intentionally documenting the things I wanted to remember. The way he sleeps, the way he ate corn while his sister shucked each cob, the weather, and the way they played in the yard while I got the food ready.
His party was set to start at 6:00pm. I can hardly call it a party, though. Everything was thrown together so last minute because I was in complete denial that this day would ever come. It really just snuck up on me before I had the chance to plan a proper party. We invited family just days before our cookout, and I picked up some groceries to feed them. I beat myself up over not getting a shirt for him that somehow indicated that he was the birthday boy, and his smash cake was a jumbo Walmart cupcake.
At exactly 6 o’clock that beautiful blue sky turned black and the rain poured from the sky mimicking the way my heart felt about the fact that we’re already celebrating one year with our sweet Parker Scott. I was upset. The rain ruined everything that I had “planned.” It’s hard to enjoy a cookout while you’re cooped up inside. It’s hard to take the time to document when plans get changed. It’s hard to keep your cool when all you want to do is breakdown in a room full of people and hold your baby while he’s still a baby.
I wasn’t able to document everything I wanted to document from last evening. I didn’t take photos of him with each member of his family that came to love on him; the family members that forgave me for telling them about a party so last minute. I didn’t document the love that surrounds our family. I didn’t witness each moment someone else took Parker into their arms, wrapped him up, and kissed those delicious cheeks of his. He tasted like watermelon last night. He loves watermelon.
I didn’t document it, but I know that he felt it, and that is even more important to me. One day, years from now, when he looks back at photos of this celebration, I know he’ll smile thinking about all the people that came to see him. There is this fine line between telling a story, documenting intentionally, and being so wrapped up in making the perfect photo that you forget to experience the moment while it’s happening. I think last night, God wanted me to experience the moment as it was happening. It’s funny how writing that here helps me to cope with the never-ending feeling of mommy guilt I struggle with.
Just moments after we watched the sugar hit his system from the giant cupcake he devoured, Parker decided that he would leave his party to go to bed. He’s gone to be at the same time each night since the day he was born. That internal clock, man. I really wasn’t surprised at all. Although, I am in constant awe of him.
Thank you, from the depths of my heart, to everyone who showed this mama some grace and came to celebrate my baby. Thank you for loving him so hard. I hope you left with the taste of watermelon on your lips and sore cheeks from the sheer amount of joy this boy emits.
Lauren, I think you´re absolutely right about God´s intentions… 😉 The experience counts even more than the perfect photograph… hard as it may be to accept when one enjoys photographing that much, I imagine – because I do love taking photographs too… but sometimes I realize that it stresses me and most of all, others, too – then I try to stop – but it´s hard…
And I remember very well a doctor once saying: “Don´t try to be the “best parent in the world” – in Germany we have an evaluation system at school that runs from 1 to 6, “1” being “very good”, “2” being “good”, “3” meaning “satisfying” – the doctor said: “When you can give yourself a “3” at the end of the day, be pleased. It´s hard enough to get even there.”
It helped me a lot when my children were little! Maybe it will help you too… 🙂 And: looking at the pictures of Parker is heart-lifting! What a cute little man! 🙂