I can't tell you how many children's birthday parties I have been to over the years. They are usually all fun - either because I know the other adults there or because I have a close connection with the child or they serve wine...or all of the above!
After Allie died, parties of any kind were hard. We still went to any that we were invited to, but they were much more difficult. Either I was missing that my daughter was not there or I was reminded of a stage or age that she would never be or see. The ache was strong and the pain was so raw.
Years later, I do not look at other children that are the age that Allie would have been and wonder "what if" anymore. It just was unproductive to me and hurt so much. Once and a very rare while, I allow myself to think like that, but then I try to get back to the present as quickly as I can.
Parenting Miranda has helped me with that. I simply do not have the time or energy to dwell or sulk. I mean, I could make the time when she naps or is playing, but I really try to be as positive as I can be. And good thing, too, because we are raising a party girl.
We have had 3 birthday parties in the past few weeks and let me tell you, this child loves a good time. From the toys that she finds to play with to the icing that she gets to eat from my fork, she loves it all. From the other kids that she gets to play with to the socializing she gets to do, it's all fun for her. The noisier and more chaotic, the better. The more kids, the more she tries to keep up.
I feel badly that Miranda will grow up without any other kids to play with in her house. So we make sure that she is always stimulated and around other kids. It's easy to do since she is (for the most part) so much fun to be around! We have play dates at least twice a week and daycare continues to be a very good outlet and learning experience for her. She can point to her nose and her ears and her belly and squeals with delight when we applaud her genius.
I feel like as an adult, we all say that our parents screwed us up in one way or another. I am sure there are things that I am doing wrong, but you know what? There is a lot that I am doing right, too. If necessary, I will remind her of that when she is older, just like my mom did (does?!) to me!
In the meantime, I can't wait for our next party!