A first birthday party

(A photo a day: August 9th)

First birthday party
Shall we open another present now, Dad?

Last week, my sproglet turned one.

I’d meant to take hundreds of photos to show you here. The balloons on the front door. The carrot and lemon cupcakes arranged in a big 1 on the kitchen table. The gigantic stack of wrapped presents. The jugs of Pimms (for the adults, I hasten to say). The row of birthday cards. You know, all that sort of thing.

In the end, I was so busy enjoying such a perfect day, that I only took a few photos of him opening a present at the very beginning, before most of the guests turned up. So I’m going to break all my own rules about showing his face and share this one, because, oh, I can’t bear not to.

It’s hardly the word’s greatest photo, but I adore the little chubby arm, the tiny toes at the side, the birthday badge on his back, the inquisitive, but not 100% convinced expression on his face, as Daddy shows him his new book…

Along with probably most people who write a blog, I consciously try not to bang on about negative things on here. For a start, it would be terribly tedious to listen to me complaining about how tired I am (oh, yeah, I did do that once actually), or what hard work it is looking after a one-year-old, or how our house is a total state and really unfit for habitation or whatever other endless list of first world woes I could indulge myself in.

The only problem with this is that it gives a rather skewed impression of life. One where I gad about London, drinking homemade elderflower cordial, finding time to lovingly handmake presents for my nearest and dearest , having fun with my cute chubby, healthy baby, who has wonderful first birthday parties in sunny July, and generally living a rather blessed 1950s housewifeish life.

In reality, of course, I normally just drink water out of the tap, my partner cooks the vast majority of our suppers on his return from work, and lunch is more often than not some cold leftovers straight from the fridge because I forget to heat it up before the baby and I are both starving. Half the time, I can’t be bothered to leave the house, or at least my little neck of the woods, because I know the sproglet will scream all the way in the pram. And my first son never had a wonderful, happy first birthday party like the sproglet is having in the picture above, because he died when he was ten months old.

This birthday party, then, was a really big deal for me. A celebration that the sproglet has lived for a whole year, combined with utter relief that he’s lived for a whole year and sadness at the realisation that he is now, and will forever be, older than his big brother.

And I feel, for the first time, that I can start to dream about what his future holds…

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7 thoughts on “A first birthday party

  1. I am glad you broke your rule and shared this one photo of the sproglet – he is adorable!
    You are also right enjoy the day don’t hid behind the lens searching for the perfect pictures to preserve the memory – live in the here and now.
    It has to be so bittersweet to celebrate one life while the first life has been frozen at ten months. I am happy and sad for you at the same time.

  2. I think the odd dose of reality is necessary to balance out the rose tinted glow of blogworld.
    You’ve certainly experienced a huge blow of reality with the sad passing of your first son. But thank you for sharing; you couldn’t let such an occasion go by with just light bloggie witterings.

  3. Your birthday boy is just beautiful … living in and enjoying the moment is nothing to feel guilty about … I don’t lug my camera with me every time we go out either, capturing the perfect photo often gets in the way of fun … ditto all the things you mentioned … life isn’t always as rosy as blogland paints it … it is so brave of you to share memories of your precious first born … you are a truly lovely mum … wishing you and your family a wonderful future … Bee xx

  4. Happy Birthay to your sproglet! The picture is so lovely and captures a pretty moment to treasure. Thank you for your post, you are so brave for sharing with us. Im in tears and I wish I could give you a hug.

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