Sit down. I have some news.
You guys, I did it.
I made a CAKE from SCRATCH with LAYERS and ICING and PRETTY DECORATIONS.
I also made cupcakes, which were so not packet-bought. Not even a little bit.
Ella’s Naming Day was on Sunday, which meant that I had spent the previous week totally relaxed and totally organized and not at all cancelling everything and spending most of my days writing lists. I handle stress well, you guys. Totally zen-like. I’m really organized too and hardly ever leave anything to the last-minute. I’m a supermum, really.
We had it in our backyard with marquees and flowers and streamers and paper lanterns and it was all a little bit pretty. As we set up in the morning, the sky was grey and dreary, and fierce gusts of wind kept blowing everything over. The minute I hung a balloon, it would pop. I would swear. Patience is not one of my character traits, so I spent most of the morning cursing everything in sight and yelling to the sky What? What have I ever done to you?. Joel knew to keep quiet and follow the jobs on the list. Luckily, his friend was there cooking the 6 hour-long spit roast, which stunted the fights I’m sure we would have had otherwise. Who needs marriage counselors when we have you, Dan? No one suspected a thing when they arrived. They thought we were just one little happy family. Which we were, actually, by the end of the day.
It went too fast, as those kinds of events always do, and I was too frazzled and overwhelmed, like those kinds of events always make me. I cried during the reading I gave, which I tried hard not to but kinda always knew I would. The celebrant did notify us all that “it may take a little while for Rachel to get through this, but it’s most important that she finish“, which I thought was a very polite way of saying, “Here we go, this’ll be good.”
I’m not sure if you’re into this kind of thing, but here is what I wrote and read out as part of Ella’s ceremony:
They say you forget.
Everybody says so.
You forget just how tiny they are when they’re born. You forget the moments you thought you might never make it through. The moments you cried ‘Never again’. You forget the way you felt in those final days, not quite a mother yet, but not quite the same either.
You forget so much.
And yet, there is one thing you don’t forget; you can’t quite ever forget.
You don’t forget what happens to you the day your child is born. You discover places inside your heart you never even knew existed before. It’s like nothing else, the love. It is sacrifice and dedication. It is endless and unselfish and enduring, in a way you’ve never endured before. It has no conditions, the love. It’s just there. Always.
So Ella, we want you to know that through it all – even your tantrums and turns and teenage years – we will always love you.
And here is what we wish.
May you build a ladder to the stars, but remember to take in the view at each rung.
May you persevere. In the face of overwhelming difficulties, may your feet tread steadily and your heart remain fierce.
May you find your calling in life, and may it sustain you like air.
May you know you will always have a home inside our hearts, no matter how far you might wander.
May you achieve success, whatever that might mean for you; wealth, or children of your own, or simply kindness towards all those you meet.
Despite the darkest of nights, may you remember that the sun will always come up.
May you know you are loved.
But most of all,
Our Sweet little girl,
May you be happy.
For all of your days.
It was a beautiful day and at the end of it all, once everyone had left and Ella had closed her exhausted eyes and was tucked away in bed, Joel and I lit an illegal fire in the corner of our backyard, and we sat there watching the flames flicker away. All I could think about was how it was, in this great big world, that I ever came to be so lucky.
P.S. You’re so proud of me, aren’t you? About the cake? Totally a proper mum now.