Am finally getting around to sharing a bit about Penelope’s 1st birthday. By the time the 3rd baby rolls around, folks, I believe it’s all about efficiency. Which is why her first birthday invitations were delivered in the form of text messages and although the party was totally thrown together at the last-minute 2 weeks after her actual birthday, I think it was the most simple, meaningful little morning yet. No pomp and circumstance, just a small gathering of people who matter, a straightforward eucalyptus crown and an almond buttercream cake to celebrate this beautiful, sprightly baby girl of ours. (:
Reflecting back on this year, all I can say is that it was the hardest one ever. Everything from adding a 3rd ring to our circus, to passing through a vicious period of purple crying, I had never been so sleep-deprived in my life…we were juggling way too many balls all at once and I honestly dropped every single one of them at some point, save for the baby (thankfully). The ugly truth is, I was completely blindsided and walloped by post-partum depression/anxiety. One day I threw a full-blown temper tantrum on the kitchen floor upon discovering all of my frozen breastmilk accidentally defrosted, and on more than one day I said terrible horrible no-good things to my husband. I will fully admit that I even ran away from home a few times. The feelings of shame, inadequacy, and failure were too much to bear. Yet the reason I feel so compelled to speak out and share my story over and again, is because I so sincerely hope that you or someone you love would never suffer so long as I did in silence. The day I finally spoke up about how low I had been, was the day two precious friends of mine listened and encouraged and loved on me enough to poke a few holes in my dark, lonely cave of brokenness and let in glimmers of light and hope.
This year has been one of refinement, of hitting my rock bottom more than once, of being hollowed out, shattered, and rising up again from the ashes. Motherhood is the toughest, most self-sacrificial, yet most beautiful and fulfilling vocations I could ever imagine. I am so grateful for the heaps of grace my husband and kids have extended to me in this year when I have not been my best, and for the deepened friendships and faith I have gathered along the way. Being so vulnerable as to reach out and ask for help, of sharing honest words and receiving prayers of healing are the things that make life really real. Like broken bones healed stronger than they were before they were injured, I am owning where I have been with the hope that my story could help another to know they are so not alone, of shining a bit of light in a dark place, or if nothing else embracing and appreciating that I am a more compassionate human and wholly present mother than ever before.
With this perspective, you can see why this was so much more than just a birthday party. It was a celebration of beauty and love, of survival and resilience, of grace and healing, and an overabundance of joy!
Penny was gifted the cutest little lady bug scooter. I love that its on casters so she can glide in every direction. It has quickly become a favorite around here. Mostly I just love that this is the only photo of the two of us from that day…Sort of lame candid, but it sure is special to me.
And because you need a keepin’ it real photo every now and again, this is the true state of my kitchen after serving brunch for 10, plus my brother’s new puppy. This beagle baby can light up a room I tell you. She loved chasing and licking the girlies (probably because they tasted deliciously of frosting!), and although Graham was slow to warm up, his dog patrol armor brought out some good times.
And lastly, because I flaked on real, pretty paper birthday invitations, these photo thank you notes from Tiny Prints were my absolute saving grace! There is nothing better than to send and receive a good-old fashioned hand-written thank you note. I hope if there is anything I instill in my children, it is not to cut corners on expressing gratitude. It was so sweet to send these, sharing a cute image of Penny wearing her birthday crown, plus any chance I get to dust off my pointed pen and practice a bit of calligraphy on envelopes, I am down. (;