Pretty sure I just delivered her last week, but here we are. Seven years later.
I am now a mom to a seven-year old girl. I wrote her a short note on her birthday and shared with her. Tears in my eyes, I had a hard time delivering my heartfelt message.
Happy 7th Birthday to my amazing first-born daughter. Ava, you are one of the most creative people I know. Smart. Passionate in discovering the world around you. Beautiful, both inside and out. Karate girl tough. Keeper of the kitties. First grade art major. Lover of chocolate. Empathetic, truly thoughtful of others.
As the world rushes towards you, I feel privileged to be by your side. Ready to help, support, or simply just appreciate what you will do with it all. Happy Birthday sweet girl. I am proud to be your mommy and love you with an infinite heart.
She hugged me close and replied, “Thank you momma, I love you too.”
It was Friday night and she picked her favorite restaurant, The Spaghetti Factory. Orange Italian soda, apple sauce, and a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs. She ordered chocolate mousse cake for dessert. She was thrilled when a group of restaurant staff sang “Happy Birthday” to her. She blushed and grinned from ear to ear. Carefully blowing out her candle.
However, we weren’t done. The big party was still 24 hours away. She had been sick all week and I was just relieved she was finally well, so we didn’t have to cancel and move it. She would have been heartbroken.
She chose a hair braiding party from Verso Braiding. I discovered them this past summer at a local festival. It was there the girls had their hair braided with brightly colored ribbons. I asked for a card thinking it would be fun to have a house full of her friends getting braids together. When I asked Ava about a party theme a few months later, she quickly asked for a hair braiding party.
Decorated in pink and black, the house was simple, but chic. Individual pink polka dot goody bags containing a hair brush and a few chocolate coins for each guest. I attached a sharpie to the box, so we could mark each bag and ensure brushes where not shared. Bouquets of pink roses in vases were scattered around the house. Paper pin wheels, balls, streamers, and strings of patterned circles cheerfully dangled from the ceiling. Pink lemonade filled a large glass dispenser, partnered with matching polka dot straws. I even got creative and made white chocolate popcorn with sprinkles. It was strangely addicting to both adult and kids. For once, I did not fail at a Pinterest project.
I booked her cake with our favorite baker, Cakewalk Creations. Ava selected a pink and black cake with fondant kitties playing with yarn. Our baker even asked for photos of our kittens, so he could model the cake topper after them. Thoughtful touch. When I went to pick up the cake, he told go look in the back. They making a pig cake. To my surprise, sitting on a metal table was a amazingly life like roast pig cake. Full size. I was stunned to say the least. I should have taken a photo of it.
Just before four p.m. the Verso team showed up. Dress in matching outfits of red and white. Fascinators pinned in their hair. Boxes of colorful ribbons, sparkly jewels, and fabric flowers. Two shiny silver stools with black seats and more hair supplies completed the set up. Pages of beautiful hair designs were sitting in a pile by the couch. Ready for eager hands to sift through and find the perfect hair do.
My girls jumped right in, picked their hair styles, and the braiding began! Ava started off looking like cousin it from the Addams Family, but how quickly she transformed! Little faces emerged from the braids. Bright flowers with feathers were added as the final flourish. Mia chose Seahawk colors for her ribbon braid creation. Ava chose a stunning braid swirl around her head.
Guests began to arrive, excitedly running in and selecting their favorite braid. Let the braiding begin!
Outside in the backyard, I reinstated the bubble machine from my younger daughter’s birthday. It was a hit at that party and was to be favorite with this one too. Burning off their extra energy while they waited for their turns with Verso, the girls chased each other, popped bubbles, and laughed. Bubbles are always fun. Always.
The house was busy. The hair braiding was in high gear now, with more gorgeous faces emerging from the braids. So many different styles, fitting each girl’s personality.
In the end, twelve beautifully styled young ladies graced us with their fabulous hair braids!
The Verso team also brought a craft project as well. A box colorful flower petals were the canvas as each guest designed their own flower hair clips. Our hair hostess, Maria, sewed the petals together, attached a small jewel and hair clip with the hot glue gun.
In other parts of the house, the party was in full swing. I constructed my own Photo Booth for the party. Ordered a cute photo prop set from Etsy, attached a 5×6 sequined piece of fabric to the wall, and set up my old Canon on a tripod with a remote attached. Little did I know how popular it would be. Silliness and giggles filled the downstairs. (click on the slide show)
It was finally time for cake, the girls surrounded Ava at the table. A loud rousing Happy Birthday rang out across the house. The girls ate together. Sticky cake faces and fingers appeared.
Time had flown by. I looked at my watch and we had an hour left until parents came to pick up their kids.
What to do….
It had grown dark, but the backyard lights were glowing. I sent the girls outside. Turning up the music, we started blasting out a list of songs popular with seven-year old girls.
Boom Clap. Want You Back. Shake It Off. Uptown Funk. Let It Go. As the music pulsed out into the neighborhood, the girls began to dance and sing at the top of their lungs. The bubble machine was set to high and bubbles sparkled in the evening light. Large stuffed animals emerged from the downstairs. A super sized shark was a favorite prop and was seen running amongst the kids. A white stuffed horse galloped by. Hula Hoops swirled.
The dance ended with a line of girls on the wall singing “Shake It Off” at the top of their lungs.
It was, in a word, awesome.
The dance party came from out of nowhere and rocked the entire neighborhood. Unplanned fun. Free and silly.
And of course, there is video.
As the clock ticked towards seven pm, parents began to arrive. I was told, they could hear the music from a block away.
Good thing we were on a seven-year old schedule. The stereo was off by 7:05pm, probably music to my neighbors’ ears.
The dance party, well maybe, just maybe, was a glimpse into the future.
Ava told us later, it was the best party ever.
Sometimes, you can plan everything down to the last-minute, only to discover freedom is the soul of true joy.
Happy Birthday my sweet Ava, I love you infinite heart.