By some time-bending twist of the universe, I have a five-year-old. FIVE. Everyone tells you to enjoy every second of parenthood because “it all just goes by so fast…” Well, they say it because it’s true. It doesn’t feel very long ago that I was sharing our fertility struggles here, wondering if I’d ever bear the title, “Mama.” That makes me giggle, because these days, the boys say it at least 100 times per hour! It was Oden’s first word. And then I blinked and now he’s five. Sigh, sniff.
Last year, milliseconds before the country shut down in what remains as a life-altering pandemic, we threw a huge birthday party for Oden. We love parties! Kids and parents alike participated in Camp Oden, complete with s’mores stations, trail mix bar, a teepee in the living room, and a scavenger hunt for goodie bags. What can I say? I love a good theme! Thankfully, it wasn’t a super-spreader event and I’m so grateful we had this gathering before we went into lockdown for months!
This year, as March rolled around, we were slowly and cautiously emerging from our Covid cocoons. I like to do something to mark birthdays as special, so we decided to return to the indoor swim facility we’d splashed around in for a couple of Oden’s previous birthdays. The boys and I were chock full of antibodies after our illness at the beginning of the year, and vaccines were happening regularly in Utah. I casually reached out to a few of Oden’s friends to include them, figuring that each family could make the call whether they felt comfortable being social or not. We ended up with a handful of kiddos RSVPing “YES!” to celebrate with Oden a couple of days after his actual birthday.
On the eve of the big day, Mama stayed up late making sure some birthday traditions were ready when Oden woke up. There were balloons on streamers, a DIY crown to decorate, gifts from Uma and Papa, and vanilla sprinkle pancakes. Yum! He received more gifts from our sweet nanny and had some snow-filled adventures with Mo. Before blowing out candles on his cute little cake, he discovered his “big” present from us: a new bike! The kid keeps outgrowing his bikes, and this one has gears. Mo was pretty excited to copy Big Bro on the hand-me-down Strider.
Now it was time to prep for the swim party! I picked up some cute beachy/swim-themed favors for each of Oden’s friends. I filled a sand pail with sunglasses, stickers, mini bubbles, sidewalk chalk, a little pool whistle, and treats. Oden signed cards that said, “Stay cool!” with his name. Oh, and cute little water bottles with straws shaped like beach balls!
The little party room I rented at the pool was adorable and private. We could leave our belongings in there while we swam in the pool, which has play structures, shallow splash areas, and waterslides. Kid paradise! We had a few simple snacks and drinks before pizza and a yummy sparkly cake. The whole event was a little bit of mayhem and a lot of fun, and Oden felt special. That’s the whole goal for any mom.
The kiddos’ sugar and adrenaline buzz wore off on the 20-minute drive home and we were treated to a spectacular sunset. After getting the boys into bed and getting the wet swimsuits and towels into the laundry room, I giggled at the balloons that had floated to the ceiling, cut a thick slice of birthday cake, and brought it to bed. Didn’t you know? Extra cake is a perk for pulling off a joy-filled birthday for your big boy.
Happy birthday, Oden! Cheers to another year of adventure ahead!