Ari's Pawsome Party
This past weekend, my son Ari turned 3 years old. He had been looking forward to his birthday for a long time. Special requests for a "lookout" (from Paw Patrol) cake were made months in advance. Wishes to only have a small party with family were made clear. Ari and I had a special trip (no baby) to the store to buy the decorations together. There was a lot of build up.
Admittedly, this year was a bit different. I have so much on my plate right now working on a public art mosaic project, teaching yoga once a week, and trying to do all of this while caring for a 5-month-old who refuses to nap anywhere but my arms or his carseat. Looking back at my memories from the past 2 birthdays, I felt some guilt that the decorations were all store-bought, not homemade. We had a blintz souffle (thanks Baba!) with bagels and egg salad (Ari's favourite) vs. making all sorts of cutesy Pinterest-inspired dishes. I just did not have the time or energy to go over the top. And I didn't want that to come through to him at all. I wanted him to feel just as special and celebrated as he would if I had been up late at night making all sorts of DIY crafts and dishes. Thankfully, he chose the most popular, most easy-to-find theme available and we spent our hearts out at the dollar store getting all of the Paw Patrol decorations he could find.
There's also a lot going on right now personally. I'm on my own with the boys again while my husband Navin is away for work (which wouldn't be so scary if it weren't for the traumatic experience of the last time he went away less than 2 weeks ago). I cant believe I took the time to writr this post in brtween my frantic preparations because later this week, we're going on our trip together as a family of 4, to Boston for a mosaic conference. I'm travelling alone with both boys and then meeting Navin there. So in the middle of this party prep, and managing everyday life, I'm packing and planning for a (probably very challenging but hopefully very fun) week away. And on the super exciting front, my little sister is due with my very first nephew!
But with all of those important and exciting things, I still wanted Ari's birthday to be a day where he feels like the most special person in the world. So the moment he woke up, we barged into his room singing "Birthday" by the Beatles, as is family tradition. Ari was so excited about his decorations, that he wanted to eat breakfast at "the fancy table" before his party.
When it was finally party time he was so thrilled when everyone arrived, especially his Baba. "She came! Baba is here!" he exclaimed, as it had previously looked like my parents might have had to miss his party. When Ari found out that my mom might miss it he was so sad. "But I invited her... But I want her to come..." so he was beyond excited when she showed up. He was so happy to play with his cousins and see his Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt and Uncle too, although was sad that his Auntie Jordi (at 9 months pregnant) and Uncle Aaron couldn't come. "But Auntie Jordi wasn't here. I love her," he said.
We went straight downstairs where he was delighted by the decorated basement and presents, and played with Paw Patrol masks and tattoos before presents and lunch (and of course cake).
Looking back at my post from a year ago, and two years ago, I had a chance to reflect on how much he has grown and changed. A few cutesy things have lasted, but he's changed so much. He still has a few Ari-isms like calling construction vehicles "ati", and he still says "todeger" instead of together. He still loves to make jokes and dance and sing. His personality is shining through even as he struggles with the emotional challenges of being a 3 year old. He wants to be so big, and wants to be my baby. This year has been full of transitions for him and he has handled them as well as anyone could have asked, but it's been hard. He is overflowing with love for his baby brother, and loves his family so so much. He is so curious and bright, and a rockstar at puzzles. He is currently a pretty picky eater but he still loves his burgers, which he got for his birthday dinner. I'm so glad we had this occasion to hit pause on everything else and focus all of our attention on him so that he could feel that special birthday magic.
Happy birthday to our big boy! May you always have a song in your heart and that rhythm in your feet. May you always be so in touch with your own feelings and so full of love.