There are two types of people in this world…Those that go totally over-the-top for their kid’s birthday parties, and those who seem slightly confused on the meaning of life.
Sure, I’ve been accused of being a little too “much” from time to time – but in the case of my first child’s first birthday party, I’m sticking to my guns and defending the notion.
Life is short, tomorrow is not at all promised, and if today were the last day on earth, at least I can say I threw my daughter an amazing first birthday party – one that celebrates and showcases my love for her.
Her first birthday party was not just a celebration of her first year on earth, it was a celebration of who she has made me- a Mother.
And a damn good one, at that.
With a little too much pink, a little too much gold, a whole lot of sparkle and an incredible group of friends and family, I bring to you…
Bella’s First Birthday Party!
Remember – Your memories are only as good as the person who captures them for you!
Check out Michelle Sarkissian’s work here.
My dear girl…
How can it be that an entire year has passed? How can it be that I’ve been this full of happiness, bursting-at-the-seams-with-love, for only one year?
How did I ever live a life without you?
It has only been a year, but I can hardly remember what life felt like before you arrived.
You entered this world with a force that I could never describe – one that washed over me instantly the moment your 6 pound, 9 ounce body was placed on my bare chest.
You entered this world with eyes wide open, peering into mine as if to say, “I’m here now Mama, let’s do this.”
You entered this world and I knew mine would be forever changed – but was still naive to the details of how.
Well, let’s just say I now understand what my own Mama (your Nonna!) meant for all those years when she would say, “You’ll never understand how much I love you…”
It may not make much sense to you for many, many, years to come, but it’s only fair that I try and describe what you mean to me, and why I owe you the best life possible in return for the one that you gave me, just one year ago.
I love you for the way you made me come alive, and helped me to fall in love with life’s simple pleasures.
I love you for the way you helped squash any of my feelings of self-doubt, and reassured me of my strength with each hug and coo of comfort.
I love you for the way you hold my finger, the same way now as your first day on this planet, tight and with a grip that declares your need for me.
I love you for the way you’ve made me love your Daddy, when I already thought I loved him as much as I possibly could.
I love you for the way you brighten every day, and for the way your happy spirit takes over any stress I may be feeling and washes it away.
I love you for the way you light up any room, and for the way you command the attention of everyone around you – don’t ever stop doing that, it’s incredible to watch.
I love you for the way you make the life I lived before you seem so worth it. Like I’d live through the pain and the loss and the heartbreak a million times over if I knew it would always lead me to you.
I love you for the way you’ve brought out the very best in me, filled my soul with purpose, given me meaning and reason to smile, 100 times a day at least.
There are so many more reasons my sweet Bella, but I fear that by the time you are old enough to read this you’ll be rolling your eyes at me and be too busy getting ready to change the world that you won’t have time to finish my note.
Because you will change the world, my love. There is something so intense about you. The way you exercise your independence in everything you do. The fearless way you approach everything.
So, my love, here is what I’ve got for you…
After what you’ve done for me in only one year, I promise to spend the rest of my life repaying you – with endless love, support, guidance, respect and honesty. I promise to always help you find the best in yourself like you’ve done for me. I promise to give you everything I’ve got, and when it’s not enough, I’ll find a way to give you more.
I promise you will never have to feel the way I felt as a little girl, not if I can help it, you can trust me on that.
A year used to come and go like anything else… but now, in only a year, you’ve given me an entire life’s worth of love.
Happy First Birthday, sweet girl.
Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for being you. Thank you, for this love.
I am playing for the other team, now. I am on the other side of the fence. I’ve jumped ship. Crossed the border. I’ve purchased a one-way ticket and I’m not returning anytime soon.
I RSVP’ed ‘HELL YES’ to this life.
I successfully crossed over into “stay-at-home-mom” territory, although, I technically NEVER stay at home. I work from home, or from Starbucks, or from my best friend’s couch.
Do you see how I had to throw that in there? That I do, indeed, work? This is a problem. It’s a really big problem, actually, that we as Mothers, feel the need to justify ourselves by proving we do anything more than just wear our “Mom” hats all day.
For every “good for you!” voice of encouragement, there’s a “But why? What do you do all day?” asshole waiting to test your patience, and make you feel the need to validate yourself – and it’s usually someone who you owe nothing to.
But that’s just the way it is.
Somewhere along the way, we’ve succeeding in eliminating the mother-class.
WHY, though? What happened to the beauty in just being a Mom?
We all know that Mom is Superwoman, and Mama knows best.
Home is where your mom is, and, Where there’s a Mom, there’s a way.
We can all admit to needing our moms on our toughest days no matter how old we get, or how much pride we hold on to. Because “Mom” IS the most important role played on this planet.
So why, when I’m out to lunch with a friend and our babies and I’m approached by a random stranger who wants to chat about my baby and how much she doesn’t look like me, do I find myself justifying my role as a mom with “I also work, I’m a writer”.
Or when rude acquaintances probe, “So WHY did you really stop working, aren’t you bored?”.
Bored? Seriously? Aside from the thrill of getting to look at my daughter’s very precious, VERY happy face day in and day out – I am SWAMPED by motherhood. A good kind of swamped. The swamped that comes from learning to balance your daily life with being the best possible mom you can be (and then polishing that day off with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc).
These days, so many of us Mamas are forced back into our working roles before we’re ready. ALL of us, who have had to take that plunge, are forced to fake a grin and exclaim, “I love balancing the best of both worlds,” even when a large majority of us are just barely holding it together. I vomited – multiple times – on my first day back to work, and remember thinking to myself the ENTIRE day, “What will people think if I decide to call this whole thing off and dedicate my time to my child instead?” It seemed like such a crazy notion at the time – and I’m angry at myself for that. I am so saddened by the fact that I had to question my innate calling to motherhood. The natural, human, womanly role that I was born to play.
But this, my friends, is proof of the elimination of the mother-class.
No more 1950’s June Cleavers proud to wear the apron all day. Except me. I am definitely relishing in this shit. Dinner served, laundry done, husband happy, baby thrilled – I am FULFILLED. I do, also, consider myself a feminist – go figure.
My day, even with a mile-long “To-Do” list, revolves around my daughter’s nap schedule. It means, I‘m working from the car if that’s where she falls asleep.
My day, seems more beautiful and meaningful with each giggle I hear or look of amazement I see on my daughter’s face.
My day, doesn’t have enough hours. Or minutes. Or seconds. And no, not because of that now half-marathon-long to-do list. It’s because I am loving being “Mom” so damn much that I could cram so much more of it into one day if I had the chance.
I spent my afternoon today with a group of Mommy-friends who all hold the role of being “just mom”. Some of us in that crew do the work-from-home thing. Some don’t. And it’s all good… because we are ALL thrilled to hold the coveted title of “Mom”. And if there were nothing else to be, we’d be delighted all the same.
Our Mother-Class hasn’t been eliminated. No matter how hard other people try to bring it down.
I met Emily through a mutual friend about two weeks into my new life in Miami, just a little over three years ago.
We were at an event in this mutual friend’s house, and Emily was baking her gluten-free goodies, and it was pretty much friends-at-first sight. We bonded over our love of healthy eating, relocating from New York, and just our general awesomeness.
It was such an instant connection, that just a few weeks later, I was out celebrating my birthday with her.
Fast-forward three years, and our friendship is, in a word, incomparable. We are now both raising our little girls together as best friends, in hopes that they will be, too. We both share a deep desire for our girls to be strong, confident and capable young women one day, as those are the values we cherish the most within ourselves, and each other.
So why is this lady-friend of mine such a bad-ass Mother Hustler?
I’m so glad you inquired.
Emily has a strong work history for large powerhouse companies such as Lehman Brothers in NYC. She’s got an MS in Educational Psychology , and she is, for lack of a better term, SELF-MADE.
After leaving her career at Lehman Brothers behind, Emily recognized the need for well-written, well-educated Resume Writers in our economy-shattered nation, post-2008.
In just a few short years, Emily went from this idea of writing resumes, to building what is now a leading, TOP 25 IN THE NATION, full-service resume writing and career coaching business. She is a leading career strategist and I can barely schedule friend-time with her because ever since she’s joined the Forbes Coaches Council, she’s on FIRE.
Luckily, she took a chance on this young writer I call MOI, and has employed me at my own free will. I’m not gonna lie, one of the biggest perks is getting to sit, day in and day out, with this hot mama, as we try really hard to avoid our useless banter about anything and everything, and plug away at our Macbooks in cafes all over South Florida.
Not only am I learning from her, which has proved invaluable in my own quest to be a writer, but I’m now a part of this amazing company. And we’ve got plans – big plans.
But anyway, this Mother Hustler is not bad-ass because she is my best friend (although it helps). She’s not bad-ass because she’s employed me.
She’s bad-ass because she had a dream, followed it, and is continuously exceeding even her own expectations with ReFresh Your Step.
And she is doing all of this, as a phenomenal fricken’ mama.
Care to know more about this Mama or interested in some Career Coaching?
Visit Emily @ http://www.refreshyourstep.com to learn more!
Are YOU a Mother Hustler? Care to nominate someone who is? Email us firstname.lastname@example.org
I am vehemently planning my soon-to-be ONE-YEAR-OLD’S first birthday.
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Almost as ridiculous as having just spent $69.99 (plus tax!) on a “My 1st Birthday” board, that I’m pretty sure no one will appreciate as much as me.
But hey, YOLO, or Your Only Child Only Turns One, Once (YOCOTOO).
What started out as an, “only family, only in our home” affair, has now turned in to the exact opposite.
A great number of our closest friends and family – relatives from out of town included – at a very chic, VERY beloved locale of my daughter, her baby friends, and my mommy friends.
I was up until 1am last night, scrolling Etsy to find nothing but the BEST and cutest birthday decor, pink and gold, with crowns. Pink and gold confetti. Pink and gold banners. Pink and gold tablecloths, plates, socks for our guests – it it’s gold and pink, it’s in my Etsy shopping cart.
On the Pilates reformer this morning at 7:30am, I thought, “Am I crazy or just really cute and detailed?”
Don’t answer that.
So, as I am clearly not phased by the thought of being crazy, I keep planning away.
And the tears won’t stop coming.
She IS only One ONCE. She IS my first baby – the game-changing factor in my life that made me fall in love with being alive, with being her mother, with the person that I am.
She WILL be celebrated. It WILL be as special as I can possibly make it. There WILL be tears, and cake smashing, and matchy-matchy themed decor.
There WILL be memories made, maybe that she won’t be able to remember, but with pictures that will tell a story to my Bella that strongly and proudly says,
“You are your parents EVERYTHING Bella, and this party is evidence of that.”
So on that note, it’s back to planning. And shopping.