I did it... because it matters to me.

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I told you in my last post that I am downshifting, and I am, really. But it might not have appeared that way if you saw me decorating my house for Cate's first birthday party. 

My mother-in-law pointed out, "She's not going to remember it." (grin)

True, I don't remember my own first birthday party, but there's a photo in the archives of me clasping my hands together in awe of the lone candle aglow on top of the homemade cake. I know that it happened, and that is enough. 

As I hung tulle on my walls and turned the first floor of our house into a butterfly garden (remember Cate's nursery?), I recognized that I was expending a lot of energy for an event that would be over as quickly as the baby could smash her fingers into the icing.

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I knew that as I attempted six times to make a butterfly cake (four went straight to the trash and I saved two) that it would have been easier and cheaper to call the bakery and have them do it. (Remember when I tried to make chocolate pie?)

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So in the midst of the buzz and the prep, I consciously decided that I was doing all of this for me. I love how tulle is so forgiving--you just tack it to the wall-- and it's beautiful. I loved watching my husband make butterfly treats out of ziplock bags and turn balloons into flowers. (Random side note: you'll notice the pink balloon looks a bit like a breast. I decided it was a tribute to breastfeeding. I know, I'm hilarious.)

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And I especially love how good it felt to decorate my home with butterflies--creatures that have become my own symbols of birth and freedom.

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The truth is, this past year has been a blur. They say it goes by quickly, and I'm here to tell you, this year went by faster than the others. Cate has been along for the ride. She's always there, but we just slipped her into the daily routine and the constant motion. When I think hard enough, I can remember some details. There are moments that really stand out.

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But I know without a doubt that when I look back on her first birthday, I won't have to dig around for memories. The physical act of setting up for the celebration was my own way of celebrating. I was conscious and present and engaged.

As Cate contemplated the icing, I passed the camera to a friend. I was there. In the moment. On my daughter's first birthday, it was the greatest gift I could have given myself. 

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