Last year when M and K suggested throwing a baby shower for me, I said no. Of course at the time I had no idea what was going to happen but I know I didn’t want the usual hoop-la. We ended up throwing a wonderful one for M in which they surprised me with a cake and made my day. In a similar way, I had known I didn’t want the typical birthday for Lily. She (and Leena) have come to represent in my life some tremendous changes and have been the harbingers of qualities I may have scoffed at one time. I didn’t want to do ordinary. It needed to be perfect.
M- who was ever so patient with me in this regards (and also planning this for Leena) asked me what I wanted to do. I think I merely threw a bunch of words at her. I wanted leaves and trees, I wanted the essence of Lily and Leena (and Zo) reflected in the mood, music, setting- I wanted to feel everything I have for the last year on that day- you know, THAT kind of perfect. We worked it out together. The pink, the quirky- I gave up on some absolutes and she relinqusihed some control. And then 2 days prior to the big day, on account of anticipated rainstorms we postponed it. Not part of the perfection deal of course but it elicited many messages of exclamations from family and friends when it rained buckets and showers that day. One of the lessons of the last year is that perfection keeps changing how it looks.
The next date available was logged in, but the venue unavailable. Where I find it easy to let go of certain things, M finds it hard. I suggested an alternative. She hemmed and hawed. It had trees, I said convincingly. She smiled and countered, But thats what YOU wanted. Who doesnt want trees ever? I asked amazed.
I really want to capture that day perfectly- from the tiny nuances and details to the grand obviousness of things. How all the pinks we wanted were meshing in perfectly. How the trees cast an afternoon shadow over the sheer gold tent, making the entire area look like something out of a dream. Like how perfectly our planner had embodied all our ideas and instructions with her own input and expertise. It was something personal- something we did.
Of course everyone loved it. Not because it looked gorgeous (which it did) but because the feeling was just right. Somehow despite our different outlooks, despite the rain and the delay, and the rest of the stuff, it felt just like it should. It reverberated – along with some very amazing music- of gratitude and joy for the 2 we have, and with a quiet peace for the one we lost. I had my shaky moment the moment the knife was about to touch the cake when like a wave it rolled over me, that she wasn’t here. That this could have been 3 cakes. What colour would hers have been, I found myself wondering that second, as Lily and I cut the cake together. I allowed myself the tears for a second, weirdly glad that she featured in the moment, the shudder of disbelief again and then it was done with, trumped by the joy of the constantly dancing girl in my arms.
I look at the pictures everyday, peering deep into the details, of how the pink flowers looked, the hearts on the cakes, the smiles coming from deep within. I laugh at the people loving the photobooth and how the girls coulnd’t stop dancing and eating cake. I love that we felt so loved, that despite so many of my people not being there, I felt grounded and happy.
Words to hang onto- grounded and happy. Happy birthday my babies. May you have many more.
gorgeous pics by S&I