birthday, harlem shake,birthday partyRemember the song, What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong? That has been my song to my Bella since before she was born. I used to sway back and forth in her nursery with my giant belly; singing softly to myself alone (not really alone, as no one ever is when they are pregnant) away from everyone we knew while the Big Guy was at work. The anticipation of meeting my first child was surreal, exciting and strange. Pregnancy for me was like an out of body experience but singing that song, as the sunshine softly kissed my baby belly through her nursery window, I was overcome with serenity and peace.

birthday, birthday party ideas, harlem shakeBella has always been my sunshine, since before she was even born. She came into my life and made the world a better place; made me a better person. She truly is my heart walking around free outside of my body. With her birth, I was forever changed. Well, my life-changing baby just turned 8 on Sunday. I’m still not sure how I feel about that.

I look at her and I see all the promise and hope and love that the world needs. I see potential and fierceness and beauty. I see the walking around breathing embodiment of all that is good of her father and I, amplified beyond measure.

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This was the first year that we didn’t have a full-on themed birthday party. She wanted to have a Phantom of the Opera themed masquerade party but I feared that  it would be a little beyond the understanding and appreciation of the average 8-year-old attendee. Instead, we had our first ever sleep over, which I will write about in another post. We still celebrated with our family but there was no theme for the first time since her 1st birthday. We were both a little sad about that.

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Grandparents and Great grandparents were in attendance, as were aunts and uncles and cousins, all to celebrate the anniversary of the day we welcomed the child who made me a mother, 8-years prior. As everyone was engaged in my birthday girl opening her presents, I quietly noted that she no longer wanted me to help her open her gifts or needed me to read the cards to her. As she read each card before opening the accompanying gift and then thanked and hugged each gift giver for coming and for the thoughtful gifts, I was overcome with pride and love for this child. I was also punched quite swiftly in the heart by the underlying sadness at facing the fact that she is growing up so fast. In another 10 years, I will be preparing to send her off to college and she will not need me at all.

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I know she is just 8 but puberty is right around the corner and so are boys and driving because after the 1st year, life moves at lightening speed. Once the tween years hit, I will no longer be her best friend and will probably not be hearing the “ I love you more than that” in response to my “I love you more’s” that she’s been saying since she was a toddler. There is absolutely an underlying sadness to every birthday for me. The letting go that comes with her growing up is hard for me to navigate. Just when I think I have her figured out or our relationship understood, it all changes. Motherhood is a changing destination; a moving target.

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Then I think back to swaying back and forth in front of that window, just me, my Bella and the sun shining with Louis Armstrong playing and I remember what a wonderful world this is with her in it and how lucky I am to be able to love her and be her mommy then, today and for always. I breathe and I enjoy the moment; the moment that my baby turned 8-years-old.

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Happy 8th birthday, my sweet, beautiful Bella! With you in it, what a wonderful world we live in. I love you more than everything, to infinity and beyond and I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life getting to know who you will become.

I will always love you more than that plus some.

**We may not have had a theme this year but we did do something special to mark the occasion because that’s how we roll here at our house. We smother people in love and you know you are loved when your 83-year-old great grandma, your 60-something-year-old grandparents and all your aunts and uncles, parents, sister and cousins make complete asses of themselves doing the Harlem shake just to fulfill your 8th birthday wish. I hope you enjoy watching the video as much as we enjoyed making Bella’s birthday wish come true. Thanks to our amazing, awesome family.Much love to everyone one of them for doing this for my girl.

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