How to Capture a Birthday?

Birthdays are some of those tough moments for me to capture in words. I can (and have in the past) just given an account of what happened, which is fine, but that approach doesn’t capture all the intricate, deep thoughts and feelings I have as I think about each kids’ birthday and what a big deal it is when any of us make it through another year.

Two different friends of mine had their first kids on Keana’s birthday this weekend, which was a great reminder at how far we’ve come. Keana is still the sweet, playful, beautiful, bright-blue-eyed girl she’s always been, year after year, but of course she’s maturing. Her thoughts, feelings, and understanding of the world continue to deepen every day and it’s really an honor to witness. She’s growing gracefully and takes all the new, exciting changes in her life in stride. She’s interested in everything growing up entails, and so far has embraced it all without fear. In fact, she’s happy to be growing up and seems to enjoy her increasing abilities and freedom.

For her birthday, we celebrated by having 10 of her friends from school over for a few hours. Her Grandma Linda and Grandpa Sam drove over from Sacramento, and from the Fresno family we had Grandma Jennie, Tia, Olivia, and Emile. It was really a lot of fun and I enjoyed just watching all the kids make up their own games and just be silly. We had a piñata, cake, and presents, but I think just having everyone together was what made the day special and fun for Keana. After everyone left, just our family and the grandparents headed to sushi for Keana’s favorite meal: sashimi dinner. She was also adamant about getting some octopus, and of course, I couldn’t say no.

Leading up to the birthday, and throughout the day, we tried to make sure Maia and Aliya felt included as much as we could, and for the most part, they were happy to let their big sister have the limelight. They mostly enjoyed all the special visitors, and the sushi and cake didn’t hurt either.

So there it is. Our baby is 9. Each time another year passes by it feels like we’re on the threshold of big things to come, probably because we are.