It seems like just yesterday Sitora was born.
Have four years really gone by? Wow. It is so cliché, but true. Time flies. In a few short weeks, my three year old will become four. Four seems so much more grown up than three, doesn't it?
For year one and two, I threw huge birthday parties for my little princess when we lived overseas. It was a lot of work because I didn't have Wal-Mart or craft stores to run to for ideas and supplies. I had to do everything from scratch by myself. It was difficult, but it was so worth it.
For her third birthday last year we had a quiet party with family. It was much needed with me being pregnant and tired. And there is something special about an intimate family-only party. I wasn't stressed and it was totally laid back.
This year I know I have to go all out again for her. We've lived in our new town for 8 months now and Sitora has made quite a few new friends. I decided that it would be special for her to have a party tailored to her personality and style. The two big parties I planned overseas were co-ed parties, which was super fun, but this year I'm going to plan a girls-only party. I know she's gonna love it. I've already started using pinterest for ideas, and I'm getting excited :)
I don't feel pressured to plan parties for my daughter. Rather, I feel honored to. I want Sitora to feel special and treasured on her birthday. I know that as time goes on and we have more kids I might not be able to throw a huge party for each of them every single year. But I would like to as much as possible.
Here are some of the ideas swirling around in my head from pinterest. I'm drooling.
I want this birthday party to be special. I want that so badly. It gives me something to focus on and prepare for. And I like preparing for something. I like goals and visions and dreams and inspiration. Now I just need the energy, time, and determination to follow through... Can I order energy to-go at the drive through at Mickey D's? (Yes, I know, they do serve coffee there. But I'm looking for some more long-term energy here!)
I have a lot on my plate in life now. Most of the time I don't have space in my brain to do anything else but think about taking care of my kids, cleaning the house, and preparing my responsibilities for church. With Peter crawling, teething, and getting into everything, plus Sitora homeschooling and going through potty-training issues due to a bladder infection, I feel that I am now in survival mode.
Sometimes I have days where I want to sit down and process all the good and bad that I experience in life. I want to go to a coffee shop and stare blissfully out the window. I want to journal and cry, I want to feel. But right now I feel so numb. People who do not have young children or whose children have grown may not be able to identify with me on this level. And that's okay, I've been there. I used to judge the young mother with children running around her feet wondering why she didn't have time to listen or be with me. I know that one day my children will be grown and I will have more energy and brain matter to sit down and have a coherent conversation with another human being on a regular basis. But I'm not there yet, and I probably won't be for awhile. And that's okay. This is the "new me" for now. I am learning to embrace life even if it's not what I'm used to. I'm used to "coherant Casey" who is always chipper and doesn't let life get her down. But when I'm tired and worn out, I am more susceptible and weak. I make mistakes. I say things I don't want to. I get my feelings hurt easier. I'm not as strong.
I guess in one sense, I'm being humbled by this parenting thing. I used to think I had my act together, that I was a pretty great person. But marriage and two wee children really chip away at my rough spots and expose the areas of my heart that need work. It's hard. Very hard. But now I've learned to stop in the middle of the rough moments and say, "Thank you God for molding me into the image of Your Son. Thank you that You discipline the ones You love. Thank you for not leaving me the way I was. Help me to embrace this season."
I'm trying to have grace on myself, although it's not the easiest thing to do. I'm always harder on myself than others. Aren't we all, though? I am learning to lean on the Lord for strength like never before. I need Him to guide me and lead me like a good shepherd would his sheep.
And I'm learning to have grace on others. We aren't all perfect. Life is about loving well, even when it hurts. Forgiving. Compassion. Empathy. Like growing pains, my heart is stretching to new heights and depths I never imagined. This parenting thing has changed me from the inside out.
And for that, I'm grateful.
Now, here's to party planning :)