Bird Turns 3

Bird’s birthday celebration landed smack in the middle of the truck drama and our move into the fifth wheel. For all of the changes we have thrust upon her in her short 3 years, the move to our new home was one that she often struggled with. Of course, Will and I could see all the logical reasons why upgrading was the absolute best choice for our family, but explaining why she was getting a new room, why we needed more space, and why our dining table was a different shape were conversations we had over and over. We could tell she was comfortable in our new space; it was just different. And we all adjusted at our own pace.

However, even amidst the adjustments and stresses we were facing, we were able to set all of that aside to celebrate our girl.

We had scheduled her birthday party about a week and a half before her actual birthday because we had planned to be on the road by the actual day. Since we ended up leaving over a week later than expected, she essentially got to celebrate multiple times. And that was not something she was upset about (neither were our families).

This birthday was the first time that my grandpa was able to join us for a gathering due to COVID, so it was extra special finally having all of us together.

The day was Encanto-themed, and it was such a delight to see her open presents that really showcase her interests and personality. Will wanted to give her her first fishing rod, which was a true highlight for both of them, as she does not just humor him with their fishing outings, she really engages. Her aunt also gifted her a doll that was hers when she was young, and it was so exciting to see that toy gain a whole new life, bringing joy to its new and previous owners.

With each birthday, I am in awe of the difference from the previous year and how much she grows and changes, even though it is not all that obvious when we see those changes incrementally over time. However, the changes going into age 3 are by far the most drastic, as she is more aware of her surroundings and can actually verbalize what she sees and how she feels.

She was not all that aware of her surroundings when we started this adventure, but she sure is now, which is why I think she struggled so much with the changes. While it made me sad to see her mourn what we were leaving behind, it marked a true change in her development from a baby to a little girl that I really enjoyed getting to see. She was able to tell me that she was upset about the dining table because she could no longer easily get to both me and Will from her seat, so we were able to ease the transition by where we sat and how we interacted at the table. Many of the changes that she was concerned about dealt with her perceived proximity to us, whether while we are eating dinner or because of the layout of our bedrooms. And because she could tell us those things, we could all work together to alleviate those concerns by showing her we were always still right there and by working quickly to make our new space feel like home.

Birthdays are always a milestone of transition, regardless of age or what else is going on in life. It is a way to mark the passage of time. Bird’s third birthday will always mark many milestones for our family in addition to her losing much of the toddler and embracing the little girl.

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