I love birthday's. Not just my own. In fact, I enjoy my children's birthday's more than my own. I love choosing them gifts I think they will love.
I let them choose whatever cake they want in the whole world and stay up till Stupid O'clock trying my very best to create it for them. I spend far too much money and time making decorations and food for their parties. I love letting them pick whatever they want for dinner on their birthday. This year Olive has impressed me by telling me, 'lets just have something healthy mummy, coz all the party food will be so sugary'.
Olive is having a Strawberry Shortcake party this year, with her favourite friends from kindy and the kids school. I have spent the past few weeks scouring the shops for Strawberry Shortcake themed decorations and toys and gifts. Which is damn near impossible by the way - it seems Frozen is the in thing these days and Strawberry is out. So I have been improvising and making my own instead. May not be perfect, but the love and intention is there!
There's an app on Facebook called 'On This Day' and it brings up your memories and posts from the same day in previous years. I love it. Most days there is something which makes me laugh all over again. Every now and then, a previous post of mine comes up and the feelings I felt come flooding back too. Especially when it comes to Olive.
When you're a parent, it's quite normal for each day to merge into the next with no definitive occurrence or event to mark it's place. Actually, I think it can be quite normal for that to happen even without kids. The monotony of work, children, housework etc - it can all be very darn boring and not very eventful.
So reading my past posts, in particular in Olives first year, makes the emotions surface again. Though a lot of them may be what people generally consider as negative emotions - fear, anguish, anxiety, sadness - I don't see them as that. I see our time with Olive as the most joyful and educational of my entire life.
The last week has resurfaced the posts from 2012 which lead up to Olive's birth. I talk a lot on here about Olive's birth. It was such a turmoil of emotions, that were incredibly hard to deal with. It took me a long time to mentally compartmentalise all the varying emotions and sometimes I still struggle with it now. It can be hard to know sometimes, if I worry because she is my daughter, or because she is my daughter with a nevus.
The lead up to Olive's birthday each year is a real reflection on how far we have all come. It can be real roller coaster - I get really excited for her, having fun at her party, the excitement of opening her presents and having a special day just for her, being proud of how much she has grown in the year since her last birthday. But there is also the overwhelming remembrance of the early days. Her birth, and her being born with CMN, was such a definitive experience in all of our lives, that not just the memories but the emotions are imprinted within me on a hugely deep level.
When she was a newborn, I couldn't envision her as a toddler, or a school kid, a teenager or an adult. She was just my sweet baby girl who I was fiercely protective of, and determined to make her life the best it could be,
None of that has changed. I still can't envision her as a teenager or an adult, but I am clearly seeing the darling little girl she has become. Not only is she beautiful in her looks, but also in her heart. She is a caring and compassionate person who notices things about people that other children her age would look straight past.
My Olive is daring, and determined. Her sense of humour outwits many adults - she is an old soul and I'm sure she has had coaching for her jokes from my Poppa (he passed away when I was 4).
This sweet baby girl, who at one time in her life used to shout, 'hi!' and 'hey bro!' to strangers in the mall, is shy and cautious around new people. She is confident in who SHE is, but not so much in who others are. Once she gets to know you, and learns you are worthy of her time, she will be a good little mate who will have great conversations with you and make you laugh genuinely.
This little girl, my daughter, my last baby, is a person who I am insanely proud of. She is the last piece to our family puzzle and we all adore her to the moon and back.
Happy fourth birthday for tomorrow, my sweet Olive.