Baby T turned one yesterday and I spent a lot of time trying not to remember this time last year for fear of a PTSD type of episode. Instead we occupied ourselves with some wonderful new birthday traditions. The first is a nod to friends over at SouleMama. I made DSC_0767a birthday crown, no small task for someone with the crafty-ness of a snail. It actually turned out a lot better than I expected and gives me hope that I won’t embarrass myself at MOPS. We had a banana cake with cream cheese frosting. T wore a dress my mom made her for the occasion.

We also read a poem to commemorate the day. We’re going to save them in a special box for her to look back on. This year we chose Nan Cohen’s “A Newborn Girl at Passover.” We think it sums up our feelings about our little one quite nicely:

Consider one apricot in a basket of them.
It is very much like all the other apricots–
an individual already, skin and seed.

Now think of this day. One you will probably forget.
The next breath you take, a long drink of air.
Holiday or not, it doesn’t matter.

A child is born and doesn’t know what day it is.
The particular joy in my heart she cannot imagine.
The taste of apricots is in store for her.

We hope that the reading of the poem, the blessing over a special dinner, a homemade cake, a felt crown, and the presence of family and friends will become more significant than gifts, which we also had. T is still too young to get the present thing but I think next DSC_0769year we will have to be more intentional about it. I love gift giving and think it’s an important part of the day. But I’d love to think of some other ways to imagine gifting and giftedness, like T preparing presents for her family members as she recalls how important they are to her on this day. Or one bigger gift, like the wood play kitchen I’m lusting after, an art easel, a new bike. It could be something we contribute to as a family. Or it could be an activity: plane tickets to see family in Iowa, an art class, a concert with the whole family, or a weekend trip somewhere she’s always wanted to go. I’m excited to be intentional and creative in our gifting.

It’s been a wondering, difficult, tear-filled, laughter-filled, fun, boring, energizing, frightening, peace-filled, holy year watching our baby grow.



9 thoughts on “first birthday

  1. Happy Birthday to Big-T! And happy birthday to you, too, Melissa. You are a one-year-old mama. She is just beautiful, and I can only imagine the fun (and challenges!) you two have every day. I’m very impressed with the crown, you did a great job and the dress your mom made is sooooooooooo cute. Where did you find the banana cake recipe? can you share it with me? Thanks!

    Hugs, Mama!

  2. Melissa,
    I’m honored that you chose my poem to include in your daughter’s birthday celebration. I wrote it for a friend whose daughter is now an astonishing thirteen years old and celebrated her Bat Mitzvah this spring. Now that I have a daughter of my own, the poem is even dearer to me and I’m always very happy when someone discovers it and makes it their own.
    Happy birthday to Baby T!
    All best,

  3. Thanks for a beautiful blog entry! I was pointed to it by Nan Cohen … lovely poem, too, but to see it applied to a whole different lovely baby is very moving. May you and T and the rest of the family have many blessed years together!

  4. melissa, first of all, i LOVE the crown. I think you did a fantastic job on it. You really should be proud. Congratulations on T’s birthday. It’s a huge accomplishment for you and Jake too. Also, unrelated, I’m glad that Ireland trip was fun. It looks like T had a great time!

  5. Melissa–

    Nan wrote “A Newborn Girl at Passover” to celebrate my daughter’s birth, and as she wrote in her comment, my daughter just celebrated becoming a bat mitzvah. It’s lovely to have all of our celebrations linked by Nan’s poem. I wish you and your family much joy together.


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