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First Birthdays

October 12, 2009

Yesterday I took my 7 year old daughter to my friend’s house to celebrate her daughter’s first birthday.  My friend also has a two year old son, and my daughter, who is the youngest of three, had a ball being around so much “baby”.   Plus, who doesn’t love watching a little cutie inhale a cupcake and smear her face with frosting!

While she may have gotten a later start than me in creating her family, my friend’s experience brings back memories of my own.  In the first two years of my oldest daughter’s life, my husband started two new jobs, we bought our first house and moved to a new county, I graduated from my doctoral program, and we were expecting our second child.  I remember those times as both very happy and very stressful.  Just as so much change happens in the development of babies during their first year, so much often happens in the lives of new families as they are forming.  When you’re in the midst of so much change and growth, it can be hard to take a step back and appreciate where you’ve come from and what you’re heading towards.

First birthdays are a special time to stop and experience appreciation.  Yesterday my friend said, “They say first birthday parties are more for the parents than they are for the child.”  I would agree that a one year old will have little understanding of the meaning of a birthday party, and sometimes parents may go a little over the top with celebrations that overwhelm their child.  Nonetheless, I believe in celebrations.  It’s important to take a moment to recognize the gift of the birthday child in your life and to celebrate the family you’ve become.

So maybe you don’t have a first birthday in your family right now, but take a moment and appreciate your own and your family’s growth for where you are right now.  The pace of growth may slow after that first year, but growth continues.  How will you honor and celebrate that growth?

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