Day Nine:

Even though her birthday was right after Christmas, it’s now official:  Kate is 4.

The party is complete, the house is returning to normal (still a few things, though, to clean up, but that will have to wait until tomorrow and daylight), and we can once again breath.  As exciting as the birthday party is, it’s also a lot of work.

It does seem that the tasks magnify the closer you get to the party (especially if you wait til the last day — the journalist in me with the imminent deadline looming).  After all the weddings I’ve photographed, you’d think I would remember that.  And thankfully my sister Mary and her husband Scott were so willing to pitch in and help — everything from decorating the cupcakes with icing, to the mundane task of sweeping off the backporch.  We couldn’t have done it in the time we had without their help.

The day couldn’t have been more picture-perfect, especially when you consider that it still is early January and most Yanks are hunkering down bundled against the cold, or shoveling out from a winter blast.  Here we are casually strolling around in shirtsleeves (some today wore shorts), with the windows and doors wide open.

But aside from that, what really made it perfect was that my little girl was surrounded by her best friends, jumped her brains out in the bounce house with them (so much so that she could barely keep her eyes awake long enough to finish dinner, brush teeth and crawl into bed — too tired for a bath tonight) and was just filled with such immense joy.

Secretly though, I think I was actually the happiest and maybe even the most excited for this day (and a former co-worker who is also a Dad, called me out on it after seeing a post I made before the party on Facebook.  He could tell).

This day is almost better than Christmas  because I suspect I’m like every dad who feels there’s nothing that can ever possibly make you happier than seeing sheer, utter and profound joy in your child — and on a day that was just for her.

Today I really got that.


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