Adeline turned five yesterday. And there have been so many thoughts in my head about five, and how big it is, and of course how small, too. How fast it went, and how much we’ve done together, and how much we didn’t do.
This was the furthest her birthday has ever been from Thanksgiving Day, which afforded me some time to actually plan and prepare for her special day. We’re still trying to nail down birthday traditions around here. There’s the annual height marking on the bookcase. The wearing of birthday crowns. This year we did a simple version of the Montessori birthday walk. And now have this really sweet train of birthday animal candle holders, thanks to a different (but equally important) birthday tradition shared with my friend Betsy (A coffee & thrifting mama outing? Can’t think of a better way to celebrate!).
Finally, for the first time in five years, I made her a birthday cake (cupcakes, to be more specific). She requested carrot cake, and I used this recipe. She also requested, for her birthday dinner, club sandwiches from her cookbook. I was ecstatic when she picked that, thinking how low-key the day would be (on my end, anyway): no handmade gifts (I’ve learned that lesson), no big meal to prepare, no house to clean for party guests. Just these simple cupcakes from scratch. Just.
And then somehow they took longer to make than I anticipated, and there was a bit of a frosting fiasco, and cupcake-making ended up running into dinner-making, which needed to be done so Adeline could make it to gymnastics on time, which meant that I was flying around trying to fix the frosting while Adeline ate her birthday dinner and Jake made more sandwiches and Bea pretty much ditched dinner altogether because obviously no one else was taking it seriously, and then Adeline was ready to gobble down her cupcake while I was still trying to get to my sandwich and Jake was trying to wash up the crazy pile of dishes, and … basically it just wasn’t the sit-down-family-dinner and cake-enjoyed-on-a-beautifully-decorated table I had envisioned. Which (I thought I learned this last year, but I must have forgotten) is not really what matters at all — what I had envisioned for my daughter’s birthday.
No matter how much I thought I was trying to “keep it simple,” I should have remembered that it was Tuesday, and Tuesday dinners are always hectic and rarely eaten together, and a birthday wasn’t going to change that. I should have remembered that it is dark by 5:00 PM now, and any photos taken in the awful light in our kitchen will not turn out how I want them. I did finally remember, when I watched her face light up as the trick-candle repeatedly flamed back to life, that the only thing that matters on November 27th is this girl, this girl with the gentle heart, and the light she brings to our life, how blessed we are to know her, and how completely in awe I am that God made me her mother.