September has been quite a month! In fact, August AND September were quite a month.
Our first Winnecour Birthday Month was big, splashy, colorful, joyful, and full of food. Josh and I made some decisions about birthdays this year, some of which we’ll stick by, others we’ll drop before next year. One decision we’ll continue: since all 3 of our birthdays happen within 30 days, we’re going to decorate the house once the first week of August and leave it party-fied until the 2nd week of September. The dining “room” was festooned with homemade banners of all stripe (and dot and color), and the guest room/office/storage room stayed a wreck to keep the spare table handy for quick birthday dinner party set-up.
One decision we may or may not drop is that our way of celebrating birthdays is to throw a dinner party. Now, we love hosting a dinner party and will do so at the drop of a hat; it’s our friends’ stamina we’re worried about. All 3 of our birthdays just so happen to fall on the same day of the week (strange, no?), so for 3 wednesdays in 5 weeks, a knot of devoted friends trucked over for a birthday dinner. They swore they didn’t mind, but jeez. Perhaps we’ll mix it up a bit next year: brunch for Josh’s birthday, tea for mine, dinner for Junipers?
Juniper’s 2nd birthday dinner was my favorite for several reasons, one because it was the last of the 3 and I’d had tons of practice getting the rhythm right, and another because it was just plain beautiful. And we wore crowns. Homemade crowns with inscriptions— magic spells— on the inside, so the wearer of the crown could experience some of the special powers the crown could imbue. Papa Lewis wore his crown fabulously.
Birthday dinner hinged around a Rainbow Plate (very much inspired by my friend Jean who threw her 6 year old a “Rainbow Fairy Princess Unicorn Party” a couple weeks prior. Plus meatloaf which the toddler tucked into with gusto.) We sang the birthday song over a mountain of berries stuck with 3 rainbow candles. And we finally figured out— actually Josh figured out— that if we want Juniper to head for bed without acting her age, we would have to let her escort each guest to the door. Our home was our own by 8pm, Juniper sleeping away by 8:30. That is our kind of party. Next day during naptime, the banners came down, the office/guest room got put back together, and ho-hum regularness was re-established in tiny, cramped chez Winnecour.
This was the first birthday (well, no, the second) I truly LOVED. No strife, no angst, no feelings of “…that’s all? it’s over now?” (Liza and Nia, Andy and Trent, thanks for the first.)
This was the first time I felt Josh’s birthday was appropriately celebrated. Although he hates a big fuss over his day, I think he secretly likes a little jazz. And that’s exactly what he got, finally.
And Juniper’s birthday, well… I never knew birthdays were as much (if not more) for the parents as the children. It’s a day for us to honor all the wonder and magic that got us where we are. It’s a sparkling, candle-illuminated vantage point from which we can pause and regard all that lies behind us and a little of what lies ahead, for our children as well as for our family. It’s a day devoted stictly to marvel: marvel at that little person you made— are making; marvel at what you did to get her here; marvel that the hard work, little by little, just keeps getting easier; marvel that you’re blessed enough to get to spend your days with this precious little person, this precious little family.
Happy Birthday, everyone. YOU are a marvel.