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Last year, Emmie’s birthday fell at a time when we happened to be in Michigan. While we had a perfectly lovely time, Emmie kept asking about when her friends were going to be there. To her, it simply was not a birthday unless all her nearest and dearest were surrounding her, with cake, all wearing party hats (not optional). Even though people sent lovely pictures of themselves for me to show her, it wasn’t exactly concrete enough for a newly minted 3-year-old.

So this year, I wanted to make sure my little party girl got what she wanted, and we threw our now-traditional giant-ass-cookout wherein we invite pretty much anyone who wants to come. It’s become kind of our way to say “thank you” to all the amazing people who love us in so many different ways, and a way to reconnect with people during a FUN time whom we might only usually see during rougher patches (or because of schedules, kids, etc.).

Everything seemed to go perfectly. I was a little panicked at how many people we were expecting, but it ended up being absolutely perfect. I love seeing various friends from all corners of our lives coming together, and sometimes even making new friendships!I can never spend enough time with everyone, but I think (?) I managed to spend some time with most people. At least everyone seemed to have a good time!

One of the most fun aspects of this year’s party was that for the first time, Emmie really genuinely played with her friends. They sort of ran in a little pack around the house, perfectly happy to play on their own. Even better, they are now all old enough that they can be (somewhat) trusted to be on their own now, with only periodic parental check ins. Wonderful!

Near the end of the party, my lovely friend Jen brought two awesome wigs for me. After the disheartening visit to the free wig “store” several weeks ago, I was feeling less than excited about the idea of a wig. I have received some really wonderful scarves and hats from my super generous friends and especially coworkers, and I was content with the idea of just wearing those for the nest 4 months.

11048638_10103217996161812_7373675017533438890_nCute, n’est-ce pas? There’s another too!11694141_10103301848765503_4737572250303425254_nEven though I haven’t worn them out in public yet, just wearing them a few times at home has given me more hope and excitement for looking for more fun wigs. My hair is definitely falling out at a good clip (no pun intended!) and I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet pretty soon here and just pull it out. I don’t know if it will all come out yet, but I’m shedding like crazy, so I think quite a bit will. Le sigh. I’m really OK with it, though.

(Sorry, hair diversion ahead). I’ve been wearing clearly “cancer patient” scarves for the past few days and I actually kind of like the honesty I feel like it brings. Not that I was ever hiding anything, but I think people can look at me now and probably guess a little more easily what’s up. In that sense, wigs seem deceptive to me (even though I know they are not! And who would think I really have either of those awesome hairstyles naturally?), but in so many other ways, they seem like another fun way to give cancer the finger. /end diversion

So Emmie had a *fabulous* time, ate lots of sugary things (cakes and cupcakes galore!) and spent some great time with her very own friends, instead of just grown-ups. Meanwhile, the grown-ups also had fun too! Happy Birthday, Emmie!