We celebrated Oliver's 3rd birthday yesterday with family; and while I am not a fan of hosting, it turned out really lovely. That is in large part because our families are such loving people - I am so grateful.
Hosting is a stressor for me, as is with many of you I assume, for all the basic reasons. Cleaning. Cleaning. And then, cleaning some more. I washed my kitchen floor, and and as I did, I realized the floor boards were a little nasty, so I washed those. Which led me to the bottom cupboards (have they ever been washed?) I got those done, and then realized the walls really needed to be scrubbed.... I remember as a child watching my mom scrub the walls and absolutely thinking she was crazy. Well. She wasn't. Things just stick to the walls. You don't even notice, until you're on eye level. Then, THEN - they're everywhere. Every dish you ever cooked that had a bubble, ever noodle you ever threw on the wall to see if was done - you know, the standard crap.
Anyway - I've been cleaning for the last two weeks knowing full and well no one would walk in and judge. But the coffee I spilled while nursing Oliver 2 years ago just had to go. I steam cleaned our carpet like you don't know what. I may or may not have pulled a muscle in my back doing so, but the carpet is clean. PSA - there is a reason you hire a service to clean your carpets - you do NOT want to see the water that comes out. Moving on.
This post is about sunshine. And I'm getting there. In a round about way for sure. This is the second year we've been able to celebrate Oliver's bday (the first year was the height of the pandemic, so it was minimal) Last year, the only decorations I wanted were sunflowers. Because I equate Oliver with sunshine. This year we actually were able to host both of our families together and what a neat thing that was! And this year, I sent Mike to get my sunflowers again. Sunflowers are so sunshiny - and Oliver, is so sunshiny - they will now represent him for all eternity.
The gathering was lovely, wonderful, full of smiles, joy and happiness. The only thing missing was my dad; his presence was just so great and profound, this year was a tough one for me. He was such a pivotal part of Andrew's life. (my first born) We used to celebrate Andrew's birthday at Irvine Regional Park each year (in December!) and it was just so fun. We (OK, I) forgot BBQ utensils one year, so my dad cooked the hot dogs with sticks he found at the park! The JOY he brought to our lives...
So it was bittersweet yesterday, and I wasn't expecting it. Missing my dad while surrounded by new family, beloved family, that love Oliver, that love me. I am so grateful for them. And I miss my dad more than words.
So the sunflowers - represent the sun. The sun that is Oliver and the sun that is giving my father the warmth and peace of passing on.
To the left: My dad meeting a Minion, and Oliver sleeping with his Minion.
Below: My dad and Andrew with smiles that are the definition of sunshine.