I can hardly believe that just yesterday, we celebrated Porter’s third birthday! It almost feels like just yesterday I was heading to my scheduled induction for an extremely overdue little boy while Ryan scrambled to find a way to get to the hospital because I had his keys. (Sorry about that, honey!) We spent Porter’s last birthday somewhere in the middle of South Dakota on the way from Fort Drum to Fort Lewis, so it felt appropriate that this year we should celebrate since we’re finally settled in our home for a good while.
Let me preface all of this by saying I am not now, nor will I ever be, good at throwing elaborate themed birthday parties for my children. It’s not my forte. But what I do offer is a whole lot of love and effort into the teeny little parties I do throw. For Porter’s third birthday, I wanted to embrace summertime, which is still elusive here in the PNW but slowly coming around. I bought this blowup pool at Target a couple weeks ago, and it felt like a good time to set it up and let the kiddos enjoy the sporadic sunshine we enjoyed.
We invited a few friends, and the kiddos splashed around, played with the toys, drank alllllll the apple juice (Porter’s absolute favorite), and got all their crazies out. I think, however, his party was more of a gift to me than even to him. I got to spend a few hours with fellow adults, simply chatting, laughing, and enjoying adult conversations because, let’s be honest, there’s only so many times a day you can say “get your finger out of your nose,” before you go crazy.
Porter’s third birthday was loud, messy, hilarious, full of blatant toddler nudity from my newly-minted three-year-old who decided a wet swimsuit just wasn’t going to cut it, and fun. I’m so grateful for those who were able to take the time to come and celebrate our little sour patch kid with us. Together, it felt as though we filled that gaping hole of Daddy’s absence for another birthday. On the one hand, it made me so grateful to see Porter playing unperturbed by Daddy being gone. On the other hand, however, it saddened me to think that Ryan had to miss yet another one of these special days when I know he wishes he could have been here.
In the end though, it was a beautiful time filled with laughter and friendship for both the kids and the adults, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. While the PNW might not be the place we want to end up long-term, this Army life has been good to use, nonetheless. And, ultimately, there are so many wonderful people, and I’m so grateful that we could celebrate this bean together.