Hard to believe Cruz's birthday party is almost a week in the history books. And as I sit here typing on a quiet Saturday afternoon in the house, with cloudy skies threatening heavy downpours of rain we haven't seen in months, I am glad to say we are on this side of the party instead of the other. Last year, we celebrated Cruz's first birthday party in 70 degree gorgeousness, and this year we braved low-fifties with sweaters, stocking caps, and socks. It was a little breezy, but very sunny, and the littles didn't seem to mind digging for dimes and nickels in Big Bird's birdseed or rubber duckies in Ernie's pond. Kids are resilient that way...
I always feel weird after big celebrations like birthdays. One part of me is glad it's behind us --- the extra stress, the extra busy, and the extra (okay obsessive) checking up on the 7-day forecast to predict weather patterns and rain chances that might dampen our festivities --- however, the other part of me is sad to see it go, sad to think we have to wait an entire year to celebrate Cruz's birthday again, and sad to think that all I have left is a lot of leftover sweets to eat, saggy balloons, and one little boy who is growing further away from baby with every day that goes by.
Birthdays are bittersweet in that way. They are supposed to be some of the happiest days of one's life, yet, I always feel a little sad, too. In fact, I think I've cried on my birthday every year since I turned 16. I think it's nostalgia. The whole loss of innocence, growing older and losing these days that I want so desperately to hold onto. And the funny thing about it is that while I think at the time that I want to hold on to what I have, to stick my world in a glass case like Holden Caulfield and keep it the same while the rest of the world keeps moving, every year just keeps getting better and better. Now, it's about remembering them.
My favorite memories from Cruz's 2nd Birthday Party...
...the decorations and spread. The bold colors, the fun references to Sesame Street, and the tiny, calculated details became some of my favorites, and I had so much fun putting all the pieces together on Saturday. From the chalkboard labels and striped paper straws in my glass Starbucks bottles, to the envelope of Cruz Bucks that looked just like Monopoly money, everything went together perfectly and looked just as I had pictured it in my head.
...how cute Cruz looked in his green Elmo t-shirt and red Chuck Taylors. He may not have smiled for a picture to save his life, but he looked pretty dang cute on his big day.
...the games. I had no idea how they would go over, but they ended up being the highlight of the party. The birdseed hunt for pocket change was my favorite, and it was so fun to watch each of them 'hunt' for quarters in their own way. They got so excited when they found a coin, that is, except Cruz, who seeemd to be more content filling his brown paper bag with birdseed and calling it good. I guess money can't buy happiness, but birdseed can!
...the coloring station. In honor of Elmo's favorite past-time, everyone had to color a picture for Cruz in exchange for a Cruz Buck. Jersee took her time and stayed within the lines, Charly found just the right one for Cruz, and Cruz sprawled across the table to 'help' her color the one with 'my drum.'
...Cruz tackling his enormous mountain of birthday presents. He knew just what to do! And with the help of his cousin, he plowed through his loot at lightning speed, excited about every single one. He loved (both) his Woofer guitar(s), thought his shopping cart made a pretty sweet scooter, and was a big fan of his new dump truck, his Little People bus, and his new books and Bears gear. He opened presents a little like his dad (I prefer the slow, steady, soak-it-all-in speed, while Beau goes for more of a spastic approach), but this was also due to the massive, never-ending pile, and number of guests waiting to retire. I was glad I saved a few of my favorite wrapped surprises back so Cruz could take all the time he wanted on his actual birthday.
A week later, the cookies are officially finished, the decorations are tucked away, and we're left scratching our heads trying to identify new homes for new toys! It was a special day to celebrate one special boy, and although I'm sad the street sign is stored away and Mr. Hooper's store is closed, I know history has a way of repeating itself, meaning we've got lots more celebrating to do in the year to come.