I remember Keondra's 9th birthday with almost exacting precision. It was in the evening as the afternoon slots at the USO were taken. We ordered about 5 boxes too many of nasty Banyan Tree pizza. There were several stations set up for the kids; a cookie station where they could decorate sugar cookies, an art station, and a game station. There was awful music her dad very "happily" downloaded playing in the background. The table was set with pink table clothes and the place mats we had ordered from Birthday Express. The goodies for the kids laid out nicely at each setting. She had selected a skull theme-sort of punk rock. Kim Blackburn had once again made the cake-double layered deliciousness. Black fondant not the best idea but the cake looked and tasted amazing, who cares if we all had black tongues and teeth.
It was basketball season on marine bases, football and cheer season at Kadena. I traveled across Okinawa 4-5 days a week taking youth sports photos. Camp Courtney, Foster, Kadena, Kinser I was at them all every week from the start of the season to the end of the season. Big and round and oh so pregnant I joked with parents about going into labor during team photos. Dad's offered to haul the equipment for me and I insisted they not! I wanted to have the baby, lifting, hauling, squatting everything and anything I could do, I did.
February was a busy month. I wanted to have the dam baby so bad, I was over the waiting game. I was trying to put a birthday party together for my daughter. Can't have the baby then, Gerald can't pull a party off. Team photos scheduled nearly every night up until the day I was due. Oh sure I kept telling myself to stop scheduling, but many of these coaches and parents had supported me for years, I couldn't tell them no. Can't really have a baby during a session, can't have a baby on Valentine's Day because that is just stupid. Can't have her on the 15th because that is my sister's birthday. All I wanted was to be done with it and yet I had so many stipulations, so many days that just wouldn't work for me and my schedule. Can't do it on this Saturday or that Saturday because Keondra has cheer, nope not this day or that.
I stood at Keondra's birthday party complaining as I had done non-stop for 9 months. There I stood complaining, complaining, complaining. There I stood thinking of the million things that needed to be done, the countless teams that needed to be edited. I mean really could there be anything more inconvenient than going into labor, other than being pregnant for another second.
I loved throwing my kids' birthday parties. I always started planning months in advance, picking out the perfect theme, creating elaborate decorations, doing everything I could to make sure this years was better than lasts. I don't remember anything about Keondra's 10th birthday. I think we pulled something together at the house, there was no fancy cake, no fancy decorations, and very little planning. I remember about the same for her 11th birthday. I never got around to scheduling appointments for pedicures which is really what she wanted, so I ended up buying a couple bottles of polish and some hair stuff at the dollar store and the few girls that were here did their own spa thing. This year, I haven't bought her a present yet; her birthday is in less than an hour as I type this. She printed her own invitations off the computer-she made them in Word. I hate her birthday, and I just can't bring myself to be happy about it. I can't muster up the strength to give her the celebrations she is used to and deserves. Three years ago I complained about how big and miserable I was, how I hated being pregnant, the stubborn baby that just wouldn't be born who couldn't appease me and my selfishness and come out 3 weeks early.
I stood there and complained and complained and complained, two weeks later I delivered a dead baby.
I am not sure whose birthday haunts me more, Keondra's or Liliahna's. When Keondra's birthday is over I should be freaking out about another one. I should be complaining about having to have two parties so close together. I should be trying to talk Keondra into a joint party. I should be thinking geez I can't believe you are already 3. That's what I should be thinking but instead all I think is what a selfish bitch I was and am. Even in knowing how unfair it is to Keondra that her birthday is nearly forgotten every year, I just close my eyes and wish it away. I wish it away....
My daughter is beautiful and in the morning she will be 12. I should be loving that, celebrating that. I should be rejoicing and laughing and sharing in her enthusiasm. I should have had something planned, presents bought, invites sent out. I should have been just as excited about this birthday as I was about her 9th birthday...her last birthday.
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