Written - September 30th, 2013
Party Date - September 21st, 2013
I look at the clock and count the hours. Joel convinces me to buy all the cakes, I've never been good at managing my time.
I hate that he's right. I tell myself nothing in this world is perfect and think of Aunt Bobbie. Last Christmas I had a hard time letting go of perfect and she reminded me there's no such thing.
We tidy up the house together and I leave for the grocery store.
I set up the cake table and take a shower, but before I'm out of the bathroom... guests have arrived.
The women in our family offer to help and I give them each a job. None of the food is ready. It gives anyone who's like me, a chance to make it on-time.
Great Grandma Copeland and Great Grandma Champ stand side by side making peanut butter and jelly elephant sandwiches together. Aunt Jessica is on mac & cheese duty and Great Aunt Susie and Melinda are on the chip dip.
When Aunt Lynnette arrives 50 minutes later, I tell her she's right on time.
Jack is outside most of the day, I stand on the front porch and watch him play. His cheeks are red and hot. I tell him I made him a plate. He hears me but wants to play.
Jude's not use to so many people, and holds tight to me during most of the party. It's such a contrast to Jack who is independently running wild and free. I like that he needs me.
Later, someone mentions Jack is in the bathroom with a worm, so I head that way. Jack is standing at the sink and when I ask what he's up to... he says the worm is his pet. He's holding it in a paper-cup with mud and water. The worm is half hanging out and very much alive. I tell him he can be his pet, but he has to live outdoors. He reluctantly agrees and heads for the door.
We all mingle, a few people slip out and Joel and I both agree to skip the hide & seek game we had planned... it's getting late.
Joel sets up outside and sits with Jack. He's brought out my favorite blanket from New Mexico. I hand my Mom my camera and I sit down with Jude.
Joel reads the cards out loud for Jack while he opens his gifts; I do the same for Jude.
After gifts we start to clean up when I realize we've forgotten something. Joel runs to the basement and comes back with a bird cage and inside are two green parakeets.
Later Joel disappears and comes outside with Jack's cake. It has a motorcycle on top just like he requested. He blows out his candles, but they all re-light. I stand back and watch. I smile as each of his cousins take a turn. Everyone jokes not to eat the cake and all the kids take off to play.
Joel comes out again with a tiny pumpkin cupcake for Jude. We blow out the candle together just like we did for Jack's first birthday five years ago. Jude puts one finger in his cupcake and starts to eat the cream-cheese frosting. He loves it.
I take too many photographs.
Joel comes out the backdoor for a third time, he's singing the happy birthday song in a tone like he's tired of singing it and everyone laughs.
This time, it's a cake for my Mom. Joel put trick candles on her cake, so when I miss her blowing out the candles the first time... I get her laughing on the second try.
After awhile the party starts to die down. My parents are the last to leave. When everything is said and done Joel and I sit down and relax. Feels like we made it through their birthday party like we made it through the last year.
Jack says he's hungry and we load him up with food and cake. Later he names his bird spiderman. Joel and I agree on Stewie for Jude's.
It's hard to grasp that Jack is five and Jude is one, but at the same time it feels as if they've both been with us forever. The love I have for each is the same and it's different, but never more than the other. It's just like everyone says... your heart will grow not divide.