I am six months into life with The Gooplet, and I often tell people that I feel as though I have maybe, finally, possibly stopped treading water. I say maybe, finally, possibly, because I’m so hesitant to commit to saying the words out loud, lest everything we worked so hard the past half a year to establish be swiftly taken from us in one blow. Because babies.
But I think, maybe, finally, possibly, we have a semblance of normal.
I was big on half birthdays in elementary school, as I imagine almost anyone with a summer birthday would be. I lived in the golden age of elementary school, when you could still bring in cupcakes on your birthday, which meant that those of us who celebrated in June, July, or August got to spice up those boring winter months by adding our half birthdays to the slate of students celebrating the real day January 26 was my (half) moment to be the center of attention. And oh man, am I ever into being the center of attention.
Fast forward thirty-odd years, and here I am with a little person celebrating his very first half birthday. There must be cake! Half a cake, to be exact. We’ve done this before. We’ll do this every year! I made the cake on his birthday, but I wasn’t paying full attention, and it didn’t turn out. Like, sunk completely, didn’t turn out. What would Mary Berry say?
There must be some piece of me that knew not all was lost, because I hung onto the cake, and lived life for three more days, when Jenny Rosenstrach’s latest cookbook arrived on my doorstep. Jenny speaks my love language. It’s family dinner. She writes about people and food and the serious connection between the two in ways that get at the deep, mushiest parts of my soul. That’s not an exaggeration. Ina is aspirational, Jenny is inspirational. And her newest book tells us to celebrate everything. Because babies crave routines. Families crave rituals. And the best ones are the ones that happen around the table.
So about a week after Gooplet’s half birthday, we celebrated his half birthday anyway.
With the ugliest, and most disastrous half-cake ever. But we started something. And I hope it continues for years and years and years to come.