Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Feeling Blessed

Today, December 18th, is my little girl's 2 year old birthday. It is hard to believe I was suffering/recovering from a long labor at this same time in 2005 (and even harder to believe it will not be long when I have to go through that hell again!).

In our efforts to give Stella both a complete and separate Birthday and Christmas experience, we hosted a party in her honor this past Sunday. I am resigned to the fact that the winter holidays will forever be a jam-packed and stressful time of year, due to all the celebrations we must pack into a short period, but both Dan and I are committed to doing whatever we can for Stella so that her special day is not overshadowed by the awesomeness of Santa's coming visit. My Mother-in-law's birthday is December 23rd - far closer to Christmas eve and Christmas day, so the Gambers are well-versed in making pointed efforts to appreciate all special days individually.

Since Stella is only 2, and lacks complete understanding of what her birthday is, we did also lump her party in with a house-warming/holiday theme, so perhaps I shouldn't claim a sole focus on the little princess.
We are loving Portland, and have been especially surprised by how many friends we have been able to make in a short period of time. In truth, we feel that we have more friends to socialize with here in Oregon, than we had after four-plus years in Brooklyn, New York. When we moved here, we only had ONE friend, a woman we have known since our San Francisco days, and one of the few single and childless friends that doesn't mind dealing with the distractions of our toddler, and our overall crappy ability to have a decent nighttime social life. Other than her, all of our other friends were introduced to us via emails from friends of friends. We share the common bond of acquaintances outside this city, and young children, and can thus easily relate. As we spend more time with these unique folk, we are finding more similarities other than the shared compassion and understanding of parenthood.
As I looked around our crowded home on Sunday, with kids running, climbing furniture, spills and crumbs everywhere, parents both nonchalant and slightly stressed out, and all I could think was.... how blessed we are.

None of the mess phased me, it was all to be expected. I was just happy to hear laughter, and have the opportunity to repay some of the hospitality that we had been treated to in the homes of our new friends. I can only hope that we all will continue to deepen our friendships, and look forward to developing bonds in our new, choice city. That is what a good life is all about - cultivated friendships and the history of time and created memories.

Some of the highlights of the day:
1) Having Stella kindly picked up, early in the morning, by another family with a young boy her age, and taken on a 40 minute historic train ride. Freedom to finish last minute prep is priceless.
2) The impromptu visit of some of our old neighbors from Brooklyn, who now live in Seattle, and always show up laden with gifts and extreme thoughtfulness.
3) The lucky meeting of two families 5 year old boys, who were expecting complete boredom at a 2 year old girls party, but had instant camaraderie.
4) Stella's absolute glee at the arrival of her partner in crime, Caleb, and their subsequent joy and mischief.
5) Daniel making a birthday cake for his daughter and singing to her as a group, as she played coy.
6) Going to bed with a clean house, which was relatively easy, even after a party!


Blogger Swankyloma said...

I wish I could have been there to celebrate. I miss you all and I look forward to seeing you in the coming year. Will you please give Stella a hug and kiss on the cheek from her Auntie Paloma or "Moma" as she likes to call me?

11:07 AM  
Anonymous reino said...

Email me your new home addy!

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos to you! As a December birthday baby I know firsthand the birthday celebration deprivation one feels when you are born in the 12th month. SO glad you are making an effort to make it special, LUCKY BABY!Yeah for YOU!Happy Happy Birthday Stella Mar! Every Bockstahler sends kisses and hugs!

8:51 PM  

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