birthday weekend.

T'was an emotional weekend here, but one filled with so much cake and ice cream and pizza I think we might all explode.

This weekend we celebrated Amelie's BFF, Ayzia, and Bravery's birthdays. My God I LOVE kids' birthday parties. They're just so rootin tootin fun. it's total MAYHEM and SUGAR and CRAZINESS and them BOOM! cake, a few meltdowns, then passed out asleep in the car seat. This weekend was no exception.

Ayzia, despite turning 7 years old!, loves Peppa Pig. Most girls her age don't like Peppa. I remember when Amelie was in her Kindergarten class she was talking to this fellow little girl, trying to connect with her, asking, "do you like Peppa Pig?" (more like, do you lighke Pepuh?" her sweet, high pitched voice inflected at the most charming moment, looking at this girl with adorable curiosity.) The girl replied, "no, peppa's for babies." Amelie was a little floored, embarrassed at first, then kind of blew her off, with a facial expression like, "your loss honey". Ayzia loves Peppa Pig and I think in part it's because of her deep friendship with Amelie. She used to read Peppa to Amelie every play date. Amelie LOVED it. Amelie loved her.

Thus, I decided to give Ayza a token of their friendship that symbolizes in one item their soul sister connection: Amelie's Peppa Pig backpack. This fantastic, shiny, glittery number is simply divine. Amelie picked it out one year ago, in preparation for and in excited anticipation of her new school. She used it only one week. One week. one fun, stressful, exhilarating, scary week. then she had that stroke and our whole world fell apart.

I stopped at Toys R Us before the party, needing to grab some additional supplies (filled the bag with school stuff, like I did for Amelie one year ago, and grabbed some girly lovely little things that Amelie would have cherished and thoroughly approved of). and I was caught off guard. I don't even remember now what it was, a toy she loved, some vestige of my baby girl's quirky sweetness, but it was all I could do to pay for the stuff and bolt outta there with a quickness. I just lost it in the car. I cried the whole way to the party. I cried so hard I had to pull over. I know the dude driving behind me was like, 'this chic's drunk.' Like me on the yoga mat, I just couldn't stand it. Amelie should have been with me, picking out Ayzia's birthday presents. Last year for Ayzia's birthday Amelie was so deeply traumatized, she couldn't have any fun at any party. She whined and yelled and snapped, embarrassed of her appearance, unable to relax or understand why the gifts weren't for her (an unfortunate, but often common side effect of being the total center of attention for so long, something I had heard was to be expected after being in the hospital so much).  I remember being so stressed, so disappointed, so heartbroken, so angry at her. We beat cancer, why can't she just enjoy life?! All of this was brought up full throttle in Toys R Us. I honestly didn't think I could make it to the party. I wanted to go home and curl in a ball. I knew I couldn't miss it, but my God that quick trip to the toy store nearly undid me.

I'm so glad I didn't cave into that desire. I'm so glad I let it all out in the car like a weirdo. The party was amazing, mainly b/c Ayzia was the happiest little girl you ever did see. and, as I sat there joyfully watching the kids go crazy over cake (Brave loved it so much, at one point he said, "oh man this is SO GOOD" and he smashed his whole face into it, no fork), I couldn't help but marvel at the stark contrasts from last year's birthday celebration. Same girl, same crew, same pool.  Amelie was miserable. Hubbs wasn't even present. He wasn't leaving the house much, well....ever. He couldn't be social, even with our best friends, unless he was wrapped in the security cloak of our house (that's a metaphor, I don't mean it literally. he doesn't have a cloak. he's not Andre the Giant.) This year, Amelie wasn't there, but Hubbs was...not quite his old self, but smiling nonetheless. Telling jokes, lighthearted, engaged. It was something I totally took for granted before, and now, after being married to a severely chronically depressed spouse, I understand just how beautifully significant that change is. He was present, physically and mentally. My goodness, what a difference.

It gave me courage. and it warmed my broken heart to give Ayzia that gift.  The only other person on this Earth who should have that backpack is Ayzia. I know the minute she held that Peppa bag, Amelie was smiling in heaven.



birthday weekend to be continued....



Amelie's Mommy