When I was little, many of my birthdays were celebrated with my brother and my parents. Even when they were no longer a couple, my mom and dad still made it a point to ensure that my earliest memories where filled with family and carrot cake. I hated the carrot cake (except for the carrot on top made of frosting) but I adored them.
Over the years, I discovered how much I enjoyed throwing parties. I loved coming up with creative ideas and attempting to be crafty. Frequent trips to the craft store and last-minute Target runs became my norm — as did pulling all-nighters the evening before, finishing up every last detail, which often included some last-minute idea that was just perfect for the celebration (or so I told myself). The day of, I hurriedly ran around, enlisting my mom for help, starting to put up decorations, delegating tasks to my husband, and usually running out of time to make everything just the way I had envisioned it. When guests arrived, I anxiously made rounds, often never eating until the end or even eating at all. I was doing everything I thought I was supposed to be doing — tending to my guests and stopping long enough to take a family photo by the cake.
Last year, after falling into this routine at Lola’s first birthday — fussing over the details — I realized that I was worried about the wrong details. Thankfully, despite not getting to enjoy a taco from the caterer, I did take time out to sit with my girl and celebrate her special day.
I had become so fixated on creating a picture perfect party that I was missing out on creating those perfectly imperfect memories. The things you experience when you stop fixing flower arrangements or adjusting the banners and sit down and watch and interact with your child. The ones you will miss out on if you’re in the kitchen icing cupcakes because you didn’t want to buy them from the grocery store. Or you’re busy talking to all 70 of your party guests.
Last year’s celebration was beautiful, and I am happy that so many people we loved, and who love us and our sweet girl, were there alongside us. Even so, there’s been a shift in the way that we do celebrations in our family. At least for now. And it feels right for us.
This year, we kept things simple.
As magical as motherhood is, there are moments when I find myself knee deep in frustration. Toddlers have impeccable timing, and there are times when I struggle to see things for what they really are. Times when I am so fixated on me that I succumb to frustration or dissatisfaction. Moments when the fact that there are now Cheerios and milk all over the floor when I’m already running late, feels like the end of the world when in reality it’s not. It’s but a mere moment in the trajectory of life. A small hiccup in the collection of moments that make up our everydays. Or maybe it’s not a hiccup. Maybe it’s an opportunity for me to relearn a valuable lesson and teach it to my children at the same time.
From time to time, I surprise myself with an ability to see the silver lining in what had the potential to be perceived as something negative. And the more I do it — the more I strive to look at things differently — the more room I have in my heart for the joy that comes forth from mothering. Here are a few silver linings I’ve come to see along the way:
There are two gifts that I love to give at baby showers and birthdays — clothes and books. The first is a need (and let’s be honest, shopping for tiny clothes is so much fun!). The second is a gift that I believe has the potential to keep on giving. One of my favorite things to do with my girls is read. We have a “library” (bookshelf) and it isn’t unusual for us to start our mornings and end our days curled up turning the pages of books. My hope is that my girls will always value literature the way they do now — that they will always find beauty in words.
This month, my littlest one will be turning two, and so far we are planning to gift her one toy and a couple of books. I had gotten her a Mickey Mouse shirt too but couldn’t wait to show her. (She asked to put it on immediately.)
Disney has a variety of books that make great gifts and are perfect for your little one’s library. Here are a few that are on my radar:
The thing about a good Disney movie is that you just can’t let it go. Especially if it’s captured the eyes and ears (and subsequently heart) of your little one. One of the things that I love so much about Disney movies is that these beautifully told stories often manage to capture our hearts too. They speak to the inner child in all of us. The part of us that still believes in magic. The part of us that sees parenthood as a multitude of things, among them being a chance to experience the magic of childhood again.
Not since the Little Mermaid and the Lion King has a story spoke to me the way the story of Elsa and Anna did. Perhaps the fact that I am a mother of two girls made it even easier for me to fall for these two sisters. My girls and I have sat and watched this movie several times, and each time they look as their mama’s eyes get glassy. The first time we watched it I wept. Yes. I know. You too?
And despite welcoming an occasional break from the soundtrack (currently in my car CD player) I just can’t let this movie go. It’s found a place amongst my favorites. This mama is moved by a story about sisterhood and love in its many forms.
Perhaps for me, the takeaway, the message that keeps me coming back, is that sisters will always be sisters.
In the end, nothing was a match for the love of a sister. People will come and go, but sisterhood – that is forever. And as I’ve said before, my hope is that my two girls – sisters – will be there to hold each other and love and support one another when their daddy and I no longer can.
At almost two, I don’t think my toddler really understands the significance of a movie that has managed to warm the hearts of many, despite what the title might suggest. But when she looks up at her sister saying, “Hold me sister” — and when the first words that come out of her mouth in the morning are “Sister where are you?” — it’s clear to me that she understands the gift she has in the form of a sibling.
As a tribute to the movie that we still can’t get enough of, here are a few Frozen products currently available for purchase at Disney Store.