Yesterday I woke up panicked. I only a had a couple of gifts for my baby and no decorations or plans for a cake. Today is his third birthday. The last four days or so, I have been writing and researching a blog post that will be a little different than any others. The subject matter is very sensitive, so I am discussing it with a few people before I post it. It is eight pages long and has pictures too…..It will be worth waiting for!
In the meantime, I will post about my adventures dashing about to make a perfectly imperfect birthday for Austin. First, I had to give myself some love so I could get out of bed. I said, “It’s okay Bridgette. He is three. He didn’t see the wonderful cakes you used to make for the your other kids. He doesn’t really care whether we celebrate on the actual day, or a week later. Just get out of bed, love your baby, do what you can, and it will work. He will smile and laugh and have a great time.”
My friend Jenny helped me get to the party store to get my supplies. After chasing Riley, aged 4, and Austin (He was wearing a Pikachu hat and carrying a Captain America shield smiling and laughing) through the party store, getting a stink eye from a manager when they were riffling through the candy, and actually managing to get a few things, we went to the pet store next door to let the kids look at some hamsters, lizards, and birds. It was the best trip ever!…..for the kids. You would have thought we had paid for an all expense trip to Disneyland. Common lizards and goldfish were treated like rockstars. They ran excitedly from display to display.
We rode home with a beautiful balloon bouquet. Six balloons including a PJ Masks foil balloon. One of the balloons perished on the trip, but Austin didn’t see, so we were good. Unfortunately, it didn’t live long. Austin loved most of the balloons to death. The foil balloon met the ceiling fan. Only two balloons survived until this morning. The last one floated to the ceiling. Devin shot it with a “spikey dart” which is a specially engineered Nerf dart with a tack installed in it. Bet you didn’t know that was a thing. There is now a “spikey dart” stuck in our ceiling…..sigh.
Last night I stayed up late ordering some gifts on Amazon with free one day shipping. What did imperfect procrastinating Moms do before free one-day shipping? I don’t know, but the presents arrived this afternoon and are ready to wrap. Thank you Amazon!
This morning Riley came over to play for an impromptu birthday party. “He came running in the door, “Austin, Austin!!! Happy Birf-day!” There were no invitations, no RSVP, no pile of gifts, no carefully planned games or expensive party packages, no Pinterest ideas. Ben had to take Devin and Layne to a soccer game, Devin had an audition for band, and then there was a second game after that. I had to decorate, wrap gifts, make cupcakes, and entertain little ones, all without Ben’s help. I gave myself some love again. I said, “Bridgette, he’s three. He doesn’t need a houseful of friends. Wrap the playdough Jenny got for him yesterday and have him open it. He will love it! Riley will love it. Then they can play with the playdough for an activity. Layne can make the cupcakes while you manage the playdough activity. Wesley can help decorate the table.”
So that is what happened. Rainbows, dinosaurs, and lollipops with toys hidden inside were created to the delight of my little angel and his special friend. Colors were mixed to make new colors. Messes were made. Layne made the cupcakes. He gave the coveted beater to Austin to clean. That was an act of unusual unselfishness. He was given due praise for his heroism. At one point he overfilled the paper cups. Instead of screaming and making a fuss, I told him how nicely he had done on making the batter. I helped him fix the cupcakes and they turned out great. They aren’t finished. I still have some ambitious plans to make some fondant decorations…..we’ll see how that works out.
At one point I was trying to color my fondant, and the boys were playing in the front yard. There was a panicky moment where Wesley rode his bike out in front of a car. I came out to talk to the neighbor who saw what happened. I handled my emotions, I introduced myself to the neighbor and then talked to the people in the car. The judgement I feared was not there. Only concern and friendship. Wesley was disciplined. He was sulky for a while, but he is alive.
When Jenny came to get Riley and they were headed out to their truck, his face clouded. He didn’t want the party to be over. I held out my arms and he came to me. I picked him up and hugged him. I thanked him for coming and told him I loved him and would see him tomorrow at church. There are few things that are as valuable and sweet as the love of a little boy like Riley. He loves me, and I am a rich lady.
Ben came home and took Austin to the second soccer game with him. I’m so thankful I have a few quiet minutes to write this and pat myself on the back. I was a perfectly imperfect mom today. My Austin knows that I love him. He doesn’t have a perfect mom, a perfect birthday party, or a perfect life, but he has a smile on his face and a spring in his little step. He has a best friend, some cupcakes, some toys, and a happy broken mom who adores him.
Devin made alternate at his audition. When he came home, we ran to each other and he hugged me so tightly I couldn’t breathe. He’s an amazing musician and friend and I can’t believe he is as tall as me now. His accomplishments astound me. I am so proud of him my heart could burst.
Depression is hard and anxiety is harder. Perfection is impossible, and that’s okay. He is perfect. He is enough. He loves me and because he loves me, I am enough. Not perfect, but perfectly imperfect; an instrument in his hand. The broken handmaid of the Lord. I walk the path of his healing. Sometimes I walk, sometimes I crawl, and sometimes I dance, to his eternal rest.