When I was pregnant with Charlie, I knew I'd want to record his teeny tiny and monumental accomplishments in an old-fashioned-baby book. I found a cute gender-neutral book with a puffy cover and chubby little babies drawn on the front. Tucked within the pastel binding, there was room to document every possible accomplishment, memory, and milestone The early pages of the book left space to write a letter to Baby and write down information about Mom and Dad. Past the pages of tooth charts and immunization records, there were twelve pages devoted to each of the first twelve months of life-- leaving room to write what Baby had accomplished and eaten and how many hours he had slept. There was room to record whom he had met and places he had traveled and sights he had seen. I diligently recorded each of these things: when he sat up, when he babbled, his first word ("clock"), his first trip to the swimming pool, his first trip across state lines, his first time sitting in a grocery cart (with the little safety strap carefully tightened around his pudgy belly), his first 4th of July/ Halloween/ Thanksgiving/ Christmas, the "friends" he played with, and on and on and on. My writing fills those pages from top to bottom-- detailing every little thing that my precious Charlie accomplished. I taped band-aids from his first shots and candles from his first party to those glossy pages, in a desperate attempt to remember these moments that pass in the blink of an eye.
Each month when it came time to record these little milestones, I glanced ahead at the expanse of blank pages. 2nd birthday. 3rd birthday. 4th birthday. 5th birthday. School photos. Each of those milestones seemed lifetimes away from the present. Five years, planning a fifth birthday party, having a five year old, getting ready for kindergarten.... those things seemed impossibly far away from my drooling little man who was just learning how to clap his hands.
But here we are. How did we end up here? Charlie is FIVE?!
Yes. Charlie is five. The last page in the baby book begs to be filled in, completing these "early years"--at least on paper. Everyone knows that he'll forever be my baby deep within my heart.
In some ways, it feels like he just arrived here on Earth. But in many more ways, it seems like he's been here forever. I feel so connected to him--like I know the way his brain works, his wants and needs, and each little curve and freckle and wrinkle on his body--yet I've only known this little guy for five short years. In five years, this boy has taken complete control of my heart and changed me in so many ways. (I'll focus on those another time-- I have a feeling I'm being too sappy already.) Does every mother feel this way? Did my own? Did my grandmothers and their grandmothers gaze at their first-borns and wonder how these tiny souls changed them in such drastic ways? And did their children continue to amaze them as they grew into big kids/ teenagers/ adults-- each with unique hopes and dreams and likes and dislikes? My guess is that this wonder is simply, motherhood.
And anyone who has such an effect on us deserves a celebration. So celebrate we did.
Charlie requested a "sports theme" birthday party. He opted for a family party when given the choice between friend party or riding rides at the Mall of America during spring break. (Can't say that I blame him.) Our families came and showered Charlie with birthday love. Everyone showed up wearing their favorite team and (hopefully) had a great time.
Party Games: Pin the football within the uprights
Uncle Ryan missed by the most. We thought that was just hysterical.
We also played football charades, and everyone did a fantastic job!
Eloise was our cheerleader. Seriously. Have you ever met a happier baby?
Then it was time for the long awaited cupcakes. (Uncle Jeff was probably as excited as Charlie to dig into them)
This new Iowa Hawks hat hasn't left Charlie's head since this photo was taken. (Thanks Grandma Carol!)
And the Harris family scored with this (super soft and cozy) Seahawks blanket. He carries it around the house and snuggles with it every-single-night.
We were all pretty partied out by the end...
And then Anna woke up! Our little cheerleader joined the party in time to swipe a little taste of frosting. (I know, I know...)
Aunt Sandi gave Charlie his first "real legos" and the kid has played with them non-stop. I think we may be on the cusp of a new obsession...
After the cleanup crew dismantled the kitchen, the smalls headed outside. It was perfect snow-playing weather. Sunny and warm with plenty o' snow.
Then the grands helped build a snowman. (We couldn't get them inside-- I think the old folks had more fun than the littles.)
These lil' panthers hung out inside. God they're cute.
And at the end of the day, it was just the four of us. Daddy snapped this pic before we turned in for the night.
That night, I lay in bed and remembered the night I went into labor with Charlie. I thought of the whole sequence of events, especially the moment we met our son. I remembered holding that little baby for the first time and wondering who he was going to become. His future stretched out before us like an endless sky and now, here we are, already five years into this journey. I can't believe the baby book is filled-- I simply cannot. It's time to officially slow time down-- things are starting to go a bit too fast for this Mama. But in the meantime, I'll keep documenting and recording and celebrating the life of this incredible kiddo. Happy Birthday Sweet Charlie.