What I Learned From A Botched 1st Birthday Party

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The following is a guest post by Amanda McClellan. Check her out at Moms Making It Happen.

It was a day I’d been excited about, planned for, and mapped out in my head for at least 8 months or more. I had a perfect vision of what this 1st Birthday Party would look like. I had thought about who would be there and the fun my youngest daughter would have being the center of attention. I had it all planned out.

Why so much attention on this celebration? I know, I know… many people out there… including myself, think 1st birthday celebrations can go a little overboard sometimes. But I was giving myself a free pass on this one.

You see, my soon-to-be 1 year old had a bit of a rough start. She was born full-term and seemingly healthy until we quickly noticed that her color just wasn’t right. She often had a greyish-blue hue to her face, that more than one person remarked about. Just great, I’d think to myself… they are saying my baby doesn’t look right! What is going on?

Working with her pediatrician to figure this out, we eventually landed in the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. At first it was an absolute nightmare of tests, possible diagnosis, and my husband and I being scared out of our minds. As the results rolled in, and the brilliant doctors worked tirelessly to figure it out, fear turned into acceptance, which turned into hope, for a ‘next-to-normal’ future.

My daughter was diagnosed with CCHS, Central Congenital Hypoventilation Syndrome. Simply said, CCHS affects the autonomic nervous system which is the part of the nervous system that controls involuntary processes. Primarily, breathing.

So when she sleeps, her body doesn’t always tell her to breathe. Pretty crazy, right? As a result of this she received a tracheostomy surgery. She has a little trach and is hooked up to a vent when sleeping. When she’s not sleeping, watchout! She’s a rambunctious, rip ‘roarin 1 year old who doesn’t stop, loves her big sister, and has a smile that can light up a room.

As you might imagine, I was really looking forward to the celebration of her first year of life.

The date approached and I selected a location, the party theme, purchased one too many goofy accessories, and mailed out the invitations… alot of invitations.

All good right?

Sure.

Until about 4 days before the party, when her big sister came down with a nasty and highly contagious viral illness. Just great, I thought. And don’t you know, just 24 hours before her big day, my baby showed all of the signs of coming down with this intruder? What luck.

The party was on a Sunday afternoon because that was her actual birthday. Saturday, I knew she wasn’t feeling right, and slowly my conscious crept in. Do I call all of the other moms and tell them at the risk of ruining this party? Do I let everyone show up claiming I wasn’t sure if she had it or not?

I didn’t want to be responsible for an outbreak of this illness in our neighborhood, so one by one, I called the other moms who were very nice. Some declined to come on the spot and others said they would think about it (this illness is highly contagious among children).

But as the party time approached, all but two families with children had backed out of coming to our party. I was devastated.

All of my planning, my hard work, and this picture perfect day for my daughter. At first, I wanted to blame those who had backed out, then I just wanted to lock myself in my room and have a good cry, but ultimately, I had to make a decision.

Was I going to let this unfortunate situation ruin my sweet daughter’s big day? Or was I going to embrace the handful of friends and family who had showed up to help us celebrate? Was I going to keep selfishly focusing on me, or start focusing on my daughter?

I chose happiness, I chose to just let go and embrace this wonderful occasion for everything that it was. Holding my birthday girl, looking around the faces of our guests, and into the beautiful blue sky that we were given that day, I knew that everything had turned out exactly how it was supposed to.


Amanda McClellan is a blogger, social media fanatic, women’s business coach, and mom of 2 under age three, embracing the crazy life of a mompreneur. Her passion to help women build extraordinarily successful businesses, while creating a family life they love, drives the content and services behind Moms Making It Happen. Follow Moms Making It Happen on Facebook!

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