This is not the 2nd birthday party post that you think you’re going to be reading. I need to go over party plans and panic and glitter balloons and all of that stuff, but I’m not doing it today. We’ll save the crepe paper chaos for tomorrow.
This is about the fact that our kid turned two and I did not handle it well.
I didn’t realize that I wasn’t handling it well until about four hours before her birthday. Four weeks before her birthday, I secretly started to melt down a little but I blamed my birthday anxiety on work, illness, the pregnancy, etc. It just felt like it was all too much. The Morgan family is on a pretty fast holiday trajectory after Thanksgiving, since we now celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Our Anniversary, My Birthday, Valentine’s Day, and Eva’s Birthday in about a three month time span. This means that we’re doing celebrations about every two weeks and by the time Eva’s birthday rolls around it’s hard not to just throw a handful of confetti at her, give a half-hearted “yay”, and move on with life. Last year, I threw an insane first birthday party at home and it was weeks of planning and preparing and cleaning up. I just did not have that in me this year.
As you saw, I did have a moment of panic about needing to do something for Eva’s birthday. I decided that we needed to take a trip (more than slightly influenced by the fact that multiple members of my family took off for Hawaii in the weeks before her big day). We scouted out the cost of trips to Disneyland, Walt Disney World, San Diego, Napa, Seattle, Vegas, New York, etc. but last-minute travel proved too expensive and crazy-making since Kyle and Eva have school/work responsibilities and I really need to clamber on top of the hot mess that is my work life. So, with just three days to go before her birthday, I issued an S.O.S. on Facebook and the resounding response was that I should just invite family over to celebrate. Everyone received last-minute texts inviting them over so I thought we’d only have a few people, but I guess everyone else had already marked the day as her birthday because I didn’t mention Eva and they all showed up with gifts anyway.
In the meantime, we just needed to grab some food, pick up a few party decorations, and call it good. This is the point in the story where I start to unravel.
We went to a local party warehouse and spent more than an hour wandering up and down the aisles.We had picked a color theme, so I bought a lot of things that fit and a few extras because I was having a hard time finding any excitement for this event. Eva picked up handfuls of things and threw them into the cart and I paid for them because what the hell. It was odd…like trying to party shop when you’re sleepwalking. We got out of there and cleaned the house and baked and filled the next day with errands, but I spent the whole day feeling like I wanted to crawl back into bed. With Eva. And pull the covers up over us.
It finally hit me hard the day before we threw her parties. I didn’t want her to turn two. I mean, obviously, I wanted her to turn two in that really gross “I don’t want her to NOT turn two” kind of way, but mostly I just wanted to freeze her and us and our family. I feel like I’ve been a little resistant to this pregnancy so far and I think it’s all connected to this general desire to just grip what we have and not let it change. There was also this strange melancholy about Eva getting bigger. I didn’t like the newborn stage with the dozen poopy diapers a day or the floppy stage where she couldn’t even sit up by herself, etc., but now that she’s getting older I’m very nostalgic of those quiet morning feedings when Kyle was at work and it was just me and Eva and a sunny window and some soft music. For that reason, I’m having a hard time imagining quiet moments with this new baby because I can’t see where Eva will be in that picture. I feel like I have to let go of her to hold the other one.
I’ve been worried about her feeling displaced with the new kid and it turns out that I’m the one with displacement anxiety.
The good news is that once I realized it was all about my anxiety over our changes, I was able to start getting on top of it. I braced myself for sadness when we celebrated Eva’s birthday and she turned two yesterday, but it didn’t come. I was able to enjoy her for what she is – a little kid who goes to school and comes home with babbling stories and complaints because she didn’t get enough snack. Every day that she gets older is my new favorite age, so today she’s one day closer to being my favorite three-year-old and my favorite four-year-old.
I also feel like I’m making some progress with the pregnancy where I’m moving out of anxiety about maybe losing this baby or having our lives explode when it’s actually here. I’m not 100% pink lighting and nursery planning yet, but I’m getting there and hopefully when we find out the gender in the next few weeks and we start nailing down a name, this baby will be easier to picture as our new son/daughter and not “the baby that isn’t Eva”. And in the meantime, I have leftover birthday cake, a quiet house, and just two hours before I can pick up my two-year-old and hear all about her day.