Layla turned two this weekend. While I'm a big believer in celebrating birthdays, I'm not a big believer in over-the-top birthday parties, especially for two-year-olds. I understand the one-year-old birthday parties. There is much to be celebrated in conquering that first year of life - especially for mommy! And I understand birthday parties for 3, 4 and 5 year-olds. Those kids are old enough to know what is going on and enjoy/remember it. But the two-year-old party is different. The child doesn't really understand what is going on. There is usually a beautiful melt-down caused by too much sugar and over-stimulation. And they don't remember it. So, my old self would not have had a party for Layla this year. But the new me decided to throw a party.
Layla's birthday is exactly one week after Barry's death. So last year, Layla celebrated her one-year-old birthday with a mommy who was a complete and total disaster. I don't remember much of the day. What I do remember is this: my friend made Layla a cake, the presents she opened were not from me, and I cried - a lot. There wasn't a celebration of Layla, there was just grief. And it was so sad, because there is much to be celebrated in Layla. When God gave me her, He gave me a glimpse of what eternal joy will be like. Her tiny little body is full of joy and love. So this year, it was important for me to celebrate her. To celebrate all that God has blessed me with in her. To celebrate that during her first year of life, she had a daddy who adored her and in her second year of life, she had a heavenly father who protected her and blessed her in a beautiful way.
Saturday, we had a birthday party for Layla. It was small - just family and her two little friends. It was the first time I had a party at my house since Barry passed away. The kids played in a bounce house in the back yard. We had good food and laughed. There was no pressure for everything to be perfect. But, everything was perfect. Layla and I were surrounded by our favorite people, rejoicing in the precious life that is Layla Joy. It was another sweet picture of God continuing to heal and restore our family. I am thankful. (And fully aware that she won't remember a second of it... but I will!)