What a momentous day for me. Two days before she turned one, my baby had her first birthday party. I could cry just typing those words and I'm not even sure why. So many people told me that a first birthday celebration is just for me, since the baby won't remember. This is true, yet I knew I wanted to celebrate big, make a fuss, hand-make every decoration, stay up late cooking and crafting and gluing, and invite all of Annalise's little friends and their families over. I've been thinking about this party, this event to celebrate the life and miracle of my angel baby girl, for months, but I couldn't articulate to myself why I wanted such a big fuss. Then I read a post from this blog and was struck by a short quote from a mother who lost her daughter to a choking accident two weeks shy of her second birthday. In a letter to her son on his first birthday, she wrote, "Dearest Little Peter Boy, I didn't know that your sister, Lucy, would have only one birthday. Just one. We had a small party for her. And it was sweet and wonderful. But after she passed away, I realized what a big deal birthdays are. Another year alive. Another year with our loved ones. And I vowed that I would make your first birthday a huge celebration. And we did! It was all I could have hoped for and more." I agree. They're a big deal and they are indeed a miracle. One which I do not take for granted and Annalise's party was my way of expressing that and reveling in it. I thank God for my precious baby.
The theme of the party was Sweet Pea, her nickname. She was a Sweet Pea for Halloween, got a Sweet Pea Christmas ornament for her first Christmas, and has a special song her Daddy sings her called Sweet Pea. The invitation:
The day started off well, with Annalise sleeping in and getting a good night's rest (including a four-hour sleep stretch!). My mom flew into town to celebrate with us and she and I put the final touches on the food and decorations all morning until it was time for the guests.
The cake table: