Emmie had a wonderful birthday (I’m playing catch up… we’ve been busy!). The night before, she was so excited to go to sleep so that she could wake up even faster to be four.
(What can I say? She’s extremely four.)
Unfortunately, I woke up feeling crappier than I had in weeks, with bad nausea and vomiting as well as a headache. Thankfully, my mom is an angel and was able to watch Emmie while I napped until almost noon, at which point I woke up feeling back to normal.
We drove up to Nederland to visit one of my very favorite places, the Carousel of Happiness. If you have a moment, I highly recommend reading this article in Spirt Magazine about the creation of this incredible place. One man hand carved all of the animals over 26 years as part of his healing process from PTSD from the Vietnam War. It’s an incredibly beautiful story about choosing joy and happiness over sadness and sorrow from someone who suffered deeply. The motto of the Carousel of Happiness is “Don’t Delay Joy.” Every time I go there, I usually end up ugly crying at least once, just because it is such a beautiful monument to goodness and joy in the world, in spite of death and sorrow. (They even have a lovely section called “Somewhere Else,” which has become a memorial of sorts. They do a great job of describing it in the Spirit article, but it always moves me). I think absolutely everyone who is even near Nederland should visit and ride it, no matter how old you are. It’s an incredible place.
One of the craziest things happened with this wonderful elephant. The sign says “Little Kids Only Please.” In my world, Emmie is still “little,” but the volunteer almost stopped me from putting her in, saying she was too big. He let her stay only because it was her birthday! It really underscored that she is getting bigger, older and more grown-up every day, no matter how much I wish she could stay my baby forever. (And yes, more crazy faces. This was as close to a “normal” smile as we could get).
One of the very few things Emmie specifically requested was the presence of her (and our) dear friend, Matt. Thankfully, he was available to spend the day with us and Emmie could not have been happier. She was hand in hand with him constantly, wanted to sit next to him at every possible moment, and generally obsessed with him. Such a sweet, sweet friendship!We ended the day with Italian food at one of our favorite joints, Original Pizza. Emmie got exactly what she wanted (any guesses based on her face?), but we managed to accidentally spill water all over her and a bit onto an innocent passerby, so her big birthday moment was celebrated sans clothing. There was a lovely moment when we finished singing to her and the whole restaurant clapped for her. It was a very sweet and special way to end a wonderful birthday.