Last week the ray of sunshine that is my daughter turned 1. To celebrate a year of light, blessings and love I wanted to gather as many people as possible to mark the occasion. My partner and I are by no means extroverts (despite my presence on stages those that really know me know my introverted ways) so throwing a large birthday bash for 80 odd people is likely to cause more cost and stress (which it did) then really necessary given the fact that she will not remember any of it. But there were a number or reasons I persevered and went ahead with the party.
Despite my religious beginnings my wife and I have no intention of christening Maya, the church isn’t our way. With no christening or naming ceremony or blessing there had been no opportunity to celebrate our daughter’s arrival in the world. Now showing off is not my thing really… but this is MY DAUGHTER and she is INCREDIBLE! why wouldn’t I want to show her off??? I want everyone important to me to meet this bundle of joy. Yes pictures can tell 1000’s of words but nothing beats hearing one of her giggles or seeing her smile first hand. Many people including my elderly grandfather still hadn’t met her yet, a first birthday party was the perfect opportunity to amend that.
The other real driving force was an age old proverb “It takes a village to raise a child”. If Mum and Dad had recited those same words to me every year it wouldn’t have meant much. With age and experience I can see the significance of the words and see that I benefited immensely from my parents raising me with that mindset. The love I have received from great-grandparents, grandparents, third and fourth cousins, godparents, family friends, aunts, uncles and more have helped to shape me into the person that I am and I am ever so grateful for it. Maya to a degree is a by-product of the love that everyone who made it to the party had shown to her mother and I at some point in our lives. Although everyone we would have liked couldn’t be there as the candle on the cake was lit and everyone gave one of the quietest and sweetest renditions of Happy Birthday known in the history of mankind, Maya was able to see and feel the love of a village firsthand. Her village is being built.
As I mentioned at the top, it’s not an experience I expect her to remember however, I hope that she will smile when she looks back at the pictures of her in her box fresh converse all stars and star spangled tutu, and when her grandmother tells her about the delight she showed everyone after we blew out the candle and everyone cheered, she will feel the same warmth and love that the tale is smothered in.
It was one of two beautiful moments, the second being that of meeting her great grandfather. I didn’t meet my great-grandfather but it is their legacy of fatherhood that I am building on to raise Maya. I will cherish those moments forever and they were worth every bit of stress that came with it.
Happy Birthday Maya