Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Benjamin's 1st Birthday: A Gentleman's Party

On August 5, 2013 at 9:33pm, Benjamin James Freeman arrived into this world weighing in at 6lbs 1oz and 19 inches long.  He was spectacularly beautiful!  365 days later (give or take) we threw one hell of a party to celebrate!
This party was about Benjamin turning 1, but it was also about so much more. It was also about the amazing year that we have had growing together, and stronger, as a family.  It was about the personal triumphs Mark and I have made in becoming parents.  It was about embracing having a child with Down syndrome, as my friend Tara so eloquently puts it, as the greatest thing we never knew we wanted.  This was a celebration of a life less ordinary than the one we had imagined.

One of the MANY names Mark and I refer to Benny as is "The Benjamin".  I believe it came from an episode of "How I Met Your Mother" where they play a game titled "The Gentleman".  For some reason, we started speaking to Benjamin in the 3rd person in such ways as, "Is The Benjamin ready for his bath?", or, "Is The Benjamin in need of a fresh diaper?".  I know...we are complete dorks.  Mark would even go through this little skit of sorts when he would feed him where he would act like a fancy waiter/butler.  As he put the burp cloth up under his chin he would utter in a very butler type dialect, "Your napkin sir...  Today we have a fine vintage pumped fresh from the right boob just last night.  It has been steamed to a perfect room temperature just the way you like it."  This...THIS just killed me.  I would crack up every damn time he did it.  Never got old!

Because of this, what else could we do for Ben's party than have a proper Gentleman's Affair!  This would of course include plenty of Mustaches, Cigars, and Gentlemanly attire for all!!  

I started out by photoshopping each of Ben's monthly pictures to give him a more Gentlemanly look...I mean I added clip arts of Mustaches, Monocles, and Cigars!  HILARIOUS SIDE NOTE ALERT!  This conversation actually took place at Ben's party.  When you are reading it you should picture Betty White as Rose from The Golden Girls.  That character pretty much IS my Mamaw if you add a sweet Kentucky accent.

My Mamaw:  I don't think it was a good idea for Jamie to put those cigars in that baby's mouth.  That just can't be good for him!

My Dad:  Mom, no, Jamie didn't actually PUT the cigars in his mouth. Those are just pictures of cigars and mustaches placed on the pictures of the baby.

My Mamaw: OH!  I was wondering how she got him to wear those mustaches!

Now, if that is not one of the funniest things you have ever heard, then you need to tell me some of your stories!

This day was so humbling for me.  We literally had over sixty people show up to the party!  We did an open house for the entire day, so everyone wasn't there at the same time, but it was incredible!  I cannot believe the outpouring of love an affection that was shown for our little man.  I honestly cannot thank you all enough.  It means so much for me that each and every one of you was there.  I sincerely thank you beyond what words can express.  I must have cried 15 times the next morning going through all the generous cards and gifts.  It was amazing.

Our day included a make-shift photobooth I set up with a green screen and my Mac complete with bowler hats, monocles, and mustaches galore!  This was a BIG hit with the kids.  We also had a mustache pinata and lots of toys and goodies for the kiddos.

For the adults, we had beer.  Holy moly did we go through some beer!  That's all you really need at a party for the adults.  Lots and Lots of adult beverage.

Benny wasn't really into the cake.  He was a little overwhelmed by the time the cake came out, and he just plain isn't interested in food that's not pureed and on a spoon yet, so epic fail there.  We had two cakes: the pretty one a baker made and then the crappy looking one without dairy I made for Ben JUST in case he shocked me and ate some of it.  He didn't.  He just started two-thumbing it and doing his "ah yayayayayayayay" noise he does in lieu of crying.  My husband did however manage to still get cake all over him.  A bath was in order quickly thereafter.

Looking around that day, it was an amazing feeling knowing how far we have come.  I went from being pregnant and overcome with grief at being given the information that Ben had Down syndrome, to celebrating an unbelievable first birthday party that filled my house with so much love I was worried it might burst!  I mean, our pipes in our bathroom burst a few weeks later, so that counts, right?
Benny's buddy, Luc, all dapper for the party!

My sweet Mamaw relieved that there really wasn't a cigar in my 1 year old's mouth.

 Well, Happy Birthday to THE BENJAMIN!  Your party was almost as epic as the day you were born.  We love you to the moon and back little man.

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-xoxo Jamie