Yesterday was my husband’s birthday and after two weeks of planning, I was able to pull of the ultimate amazingness- most of his closest friends (all of those present being parents) gathered around a lovely long table in a snug corner of our favourite outdoor restaurant to spend the night remembering why we all were friends in the first place.
It’s funny…we’ve all been at all the baby showers, and hospital rooms after baby is born, and innumerable birthday parties; we’ve all shared tips, asked for tips, encouraged each other through the madness of teething and sibling rivalry and dolls named after each other’s kids. We’ve spent holidays together, sort of managing the chaos together. Playdates and picnics and parties with singing vegetable themes and homemade edible play-dough because play-dough (erm…’modeling clay’?) is GOING to get eaten. And yet, after all these years in the parenting trenches together, it was pretty much the first time we had ever gotten together simply to be together. A night where our food is our own, and there are no fights to break up, and no drool to wipe, and no diaper cream handed down the line when one parent discovers they’re all squeezed out.
It was us. In clothes that we wore to feel beautiful, that didn’t need to be checked for whether or not we could safely bend to to retrieve child or toy, lunge to catch child or cup, squat to hear child or cellphone in tucked away handbag!
It was an amazing night. We just got to sit around the table, just us 12, and laugh and talk and discover anew different parts of our individual and collective selves. And when our Cinderella clock struck 12 (10, actually), and we reluctantly returned to our assorted child wagons to collect our sleepy bundles from whence we parceled them out, there was a real sense of having experienced something truly magical.
It’s odd that we’ve never done something like this for ourselves before, but it makes perfect sense to me that the reason we got it together and did it this time, was for the amazing man I married. I know it was yesterday and all gone, my love, but Happy Birthday again. I love that even when it’s arranged as a surprise, and you have no idea about it, you still have the power to bring the people who love you together.