Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love blogging and since my writing style in this space is quite conversational, I treat writing blog posts almost like writing a friend an email. That also means there are times when I don’t feel like emailing anyone or talking at all. That means sometimes I sit down at the computer and the curser blinks at me and I want to walk away. So I am walking away… sometimes. And other times, like today, I want to talk. I want to write and let you in. So here we are.
I want to tell you about Chase’s birthday weekend. He turned TWO years old on Saturday and we threw him a party a Gymboree with a bunch of his toddler buddies and enough cake and cupcakes to last for days.
But I’m getting ahead of myself! I suppose you could say the weekend began on Friday but Friday didn’t exactly feel like a fun kickoff to the next few days.
Back in June I had a dermatology appointment that resulted in the biopsy of a mole that came back with some concerning results. My dermatologist said that the mole was an “8 out of 10 on the scary mole scale – but not cancer” and referred me to a skin surgery center to have the rest of the mole cut out. The surgery center was about 90 minutes away and I waited a long time for the procedure. As someone who is awful with anything medical, my anxiety grew by the minute but thankfully the surgery only took around 20 minutes and then I was stitched up and sent home.
I’m anticipating good results (the doctor told me that in 90 percent of cases like mine, they remove everything they need to with this surgery) but I also wanted to share this here as a friendly reminder to get your skin checked. Melanoma runs in my family (my mom had it on her arm) and since I’m a “very moley girl” (my doctor’s words) I try to keep up with regular appointments. And don’t forget that sunscreen!
Saturday was Chase’s birthday and a total whirlwind of a day. It was fun but busy and by the end of the day I found myself feeling overly emotional about, well, just about everything.
The morning began with a Breakfast with Curious George event at our local Barnes & Noble. We met up with friends and their little ones for muffins and pictures with Curious George and while Chase was semi-interested in the monkey, he was 10,000 times more interested in the train table he usually plays with whenever we visit the bookstore. We still had fun with our friends and Chase seemed to enjoy his birthday morning activity before we headed home for lunch and Chase’s nap.
While Chase slept, my mom and I headed off to the grocery store to pick up Chase’s cake, cupcakes and food for the party. (My parents arrived in town last Friday evening and while my dad had to head back to Florida, my mom planned to remain in town for Chase’s big day which was wonderful!)
We came home and prepared the food on big platters before showering and getting ready for the party. Ryan was in charge of transporting the birthday boy to his party after his nap while my mom and I handled party set up a little after 4 p.m.
I was on the fence with whether or not we wanted to throw a birthday party for Chase for his second birthday but I am SO glad we did. I’m also glad we did it away from home because the kids ran around like crazy and had an absolute ball at Gymboree! (An added bonus: I didn’t have to worry about cleaning or our house looking like a disaster on the day of his party which it absolutely did.)
I’ve been taking Chase to Gymboree since he was about six months old and one of his favorite instructors, Miss Jen, was amazing and formatted Chase’s party based on his favorite Gymboree activities. Chase had a wonderful time and the biggest smile on his face during his party which made me so, so happy.
Chase didn’t seem to grasp the concept that it was his birthday (every time we’d wish him Happy Birthday, he’d say “Claire” because his BFF Claire’s birthday is four days before him and he apparently got used to wishing her a happy birthday) but he did seem to understand that the party was for him and loved being the center of attention. He’s definitely an exuberant and playful kid and Miss Jen did such a wonderful job structuring his party and accommodating 12 energetic toddlers.
The first hour or so of his party was spent in the gym for playtime before we were ready for food and cake! Everyone dug into an assortment of finger foods (we tried to plan food that was both adult and kid-friendly) and the party wrapped up about 45 minutes later.
After we thanked our wonderful friends for celebrating Chase’s special day with us, Ryan took Chase home to get him ready for bed while my mom and I stayed behind to pack up the remaining food. Soon we found ourselves driving back to our house and in the middle of talking about how great Chase’s party was and how much fun he had, I started crying.
As my tears flowed, I experienced such a mix of emotions I can only attribute to some seriously raging hormones and loving Chase so much. His birthday and his party served as a much-needed distraction after our second miscarriage but something about driving home from his party made me feel so emotional. I felt almost guilty for the pain I feel over losing two babies and the intense longing I feel for more children when I have one incredible toddler at home already.
Chase has given me so much and is such a wonderful little person. The love I have for him is so intense and all-encompassing and I don’t want the sadness and pain I feel right now to cause me to miss out on one second of this playful and exciting time in his life.
Chase made me a mother which quickly became my absolute favorite thing in the entire world. The past two years have flown by and have been the best two years of my life, despite our recent losses, and that’s all because of Chase, Ryan and Sadie and the life we have together. I used to read about moms crying when they dropped their kids off at school for the first time and not really get it at all… But now I do. I totally do. It sounds dramatic and ridiculous to say and embarrassing to type, but I know I won’t get the baby and toddler years with Chase back. I know this is the time in his life when I’ll know more about him than anyone else in the world and it’s the time in his life when he needs us more than anyone and knowing that will change (and it should!) is sometimes a hard pill to swallow because I love my days with him so darn much.
In the same breath, I am so excited to watch him grow, change, learn, love, laugh and explore as he grows up. I know challenges await – they do at every stage – but I hope I can remember the way I felt when I found myself crying on Chase’s birthday when they do.
Since Ryan clearly picked up on the fact that I was an emotional mess after Chase’s party, he suggested a relaxing morning with our family on Sunday which was the perfect way to start the day. We went on a short hike at a local park and spent the rest of the morning playing with some of the new toys Chase received from friends and family.
While Chase napped, I organized some things around the house and hung out with my mom and Ryan. Chase’s birthday weekend fun continued when he woke up from his nap. We actually ended up saving the birthday cake from Chase’s party since he and his friends seemed more interested in the cupcakes so we still had birthday cake on hand that we needed to eat!
Delaying Chase’s birthday cake actually worked out really well because we were able to sing to him again and he finally seemed to realize it was his birthday and said “Chase!” after every “Happy Birthday to you” line.
Blowing out his birthday candles was easily the highlight of Chase’s day so we re-lit them and let him blow them out a solid five times before he dug into the cake.
I loved taking the time to celebrate his birthday with just our family and now that this is the second year in a row we’ve done a small cake with family-only, I really want to make it a tradition. It was so nice to have a quiet celebration and really be able to feel fully present in the moment with our two-year-old boy.
Chase was more than happy to share his cake… until he wasn’t. Ryan snapped the below picture when Chase told me to “back up!” after I swiped too many fingers full of icing.
Our Sunday evening concluded when Ryan and I headed off to dinner and a concert – my belated birthday present! Ryan and I both absolutely adore a cappella music and have seen Straight No Chaser in concert several times before and loved them so I was so excited when Ryan gave me tickets to see them again for my birthday back in April.
We had a blast at the show and stayed out way too late but it felt nice to get lost in the music and feel a little normal again.
I hope you guys had a great weekend and I hope to be back to share another blog post again soon. Have a great Monday!