Yesterday we celebrated Julie’s eighth birthday. 8. It’s been a journey, I’ll tell you that. The baby years were tough on both of us – she with her food allergies and constant discomfort, me with the normal new-mom stuff, plus the baby that wouldn’t stop crying no matter what I did to try to make it better. Somehow, we survived the hardest moments. We managed to enjoy the bright ones. Gradually, things got better. At this moment, I’m totally in love with my kid. I’m so proud of who she is, all she does, the hurdles we’ve overcome together. All this in only eight years. I can’t really express what I’m feeling right now in words, but this will have to do.
So I’ll show you some pictures instead.
Uncle Dave came over to eat dinner with us – Julie had requested Naem Yung, a cold Korean noodle soup that we all love to eat. He had to go back to work, but stayed long enough to watch her open some presents. I think the one from Sophie, a book and set of toys for playing Restaurant with their American Girl dolls, was her favorite. Joe and I gave her the jean jacket, pens and sketch book she’d asked for. She was mildly excited about those too.
I’d baked a cake while she was at school – Sophie “helped” with that. I scrawled on Happy Birthday Julie with the decorator frosting, but decided to throw some candies on the sides of the cake rather than attempting additional decoration with icing. We invited our neighbors over to eat cake and ice cream with us – because it’s more fun that way and because I can NOT have that much cake around the house without eating it. As it is, there is a hunk left just right for me and the girls to share after school tomorrow and it will be gone. Perfect.
We all sang “Happy Birthday,” Julie blew out the candles after a long moment of thought over her wish and about five puffs at the flames. I used the same chocolate cake recipe I always use – it’s the one on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa tin, and it totally rocks. Julie had asked for chocolate cake, chocolate frosting and chocolate ice cream. Now there’s a girl after my own heart. We all ate, the children played, the grownups chatted and drank their coffee. We are so lucky to have such fine neighbors. They are the best kind of extended family.
When I kissed Julie goodnight, I asked her “did you have a nice birthday?” And the answer was yes. I could not ask for more.