Foregoing the traditional soiree with kids, party favours and hats, we decided that we’d focus on Syona’s favourite things as we celebrated her second birthday:
1) Dinner with family at a busy, loud downtown Mexican restaurant that featured a live Mariachi band. We took her several months ago and when she heard the music she spent the whole dinner shaking her head (her version of dancing), clapping, squealing with excitement and crying for more whenever the band stopped. The same was true last week!
2) A completely appointment-free day that we spent together.
4) Tissue paper (thanks to the wonderful gift her physiotherapist got for her).
5) A cake smash (I do think at some point Syona will go around trying to smash every cake she sees).
Last year, we celebrated Syona’s first birthday in a big (and very typically Indian) way. A party with 150 of our closest family and friends, a popcorn and cotton candy machine, a giant cake that resembled a wedding cake more than a birthday confection, personalized loot bags and party favours. In our culture, like many others, first birthdays are a big deal, and Syona has a lot of people who wanted to celebrate this milestone. I can honestly say that each and every one of the people who came are a big part of our lives and we truly love them very much. I think it meant a little bit more to us because these were folks who supported us through Syona’s very special first year.
This year, we were much more low-key and decided to make the party all about Syona’s favourite things, which is where the list above comes in. We all had a blast, especially the birthday girl.
Like most parents, Syona’s birthday is the perfect excuse to get a little misty-eyed about our little kiddo. Her name comes from the Yajurveda (an ancient Hindu scripture) and means “rays of sun”. And, at the young age of two, she already lives up to that meaning. I really don’t think there are any words to describe the joy she has brought into our life. She has brought us so many gifts — her giggles, spirit, determination and sense of humour keep us all going (especially through the tough days). The fact that she has overcome so many challenges and faces countless obstacles with such tenacity is something that I’m so proud of, and that motivation is a quality that she has demonstrated since day one. She has given us such perspective on life. We no longer worry about things that are out of our control (for the most part) and instead we focus on the good stuff: Syona, you truly are our sunshine.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all the amazing people she has brought into our life (her therapists, new friends and so many others — you know who you are). And to all of you incredible people who take the time to read about our family, I have to thank you for reading, commenting, supporting and loving my kid. Our achievements are better with you, and our challenges aren’t quite as insurmountable knowing you are out there rooting for us.
So thanks for indulging me and letting my inner sap come out. And if my kid is ever the one who smashes your kid’s birthday cake, I apologize in advance.
Do you get emotional around your children’s birthdays? How do you celebrate in your family?