On your first birthday, or slightly before it (because it is bad luck in the Korean culture to throw a birthday party after an individual's birthday, and your grandmom refuses to acknowledge that Americans believe in 'jinxing'), you had your first birthday party. It was thrown by my mom, your grandmom, and your whole family was there.
I mean Aunt Becky and Uncle Tom and their family came! Your Godparents and Isaac came! Every Korean my mom knows came!
There was sushi, and kalbi, and kimchi, and meatballs, and roast beef, and scallion pancakes, and every good thing. Your grandma's friend Janet, and Mrs. Shin, and grandma, and your grandma's family spent days making the food. It was all delicious, and everyone enjoyed it. The main decorations were baby blue "First Birthday" and baby Winnie-the-Pooh "First Birthday" selections.
There were a ton of little kids like Josh, and Isaac, and Misha, and Andrew and Lilly, and Nate, and Hana and all of your cousins from the Laub side. I had got some sidewalk chalk and they spent a great deal of time eating or drawing. It was fun to watch you interact with all of them, even if you couldn't walk or talk much yet.
We dressed you in an adorable little "First Birthday" onesie, and then changed you out of it to put you in your hanbok.
You hated it, and I really can't blame you. It was really hot at the party, and that outfit was even warmer.
I wish I could say you had a terrific time, but you were overstimulated, tired, and cranky. You mostly wanted me or your daddy to hold you, or you wanted to ride your horsie all around the place. The best part of the day for you was playing with the balloons we blew up prior to everyone arriving.
Dear Lord, Nathan. You love balloons. If I owned a balloon emporium, you'd be the happiest baby on Earth. You love Mylar balloons, regular latex balloons, balloons that float, balloons that bounce along the ground, single balloons, large batches of balloons. You've never met a balloon you didn't love. You only loved the balloons (including the batch your Aunt Talena and Uncle Dan brought).
Wait! That's not true. You also liked the cake.
We ordered it from Rillings, a bakery that also made the wedding cake for your daddy and me. We tried to do the standard thing where you smooshed cake in your hair and face, but you're kind of a little too neat for that, just like your mommy. You touched it, hated how it got all over you, and refused to do anything more than lean in for bites of it after that.
We also made you pick out your future/destiny/big life deal out. I think it's kind of mean to do that, but it's tradition. We offered you wealth, a long life, health, art, and sports, but you wanted to be a scholar or a reader.
Then, Nathan, people accused me of training you to pick that option, because your mommy loves to read. Nathan, I didn't train you, but you probably associate books with your daddy or me snuggling you up tight and making funny noises and kissing you and tickling you and telling you we love you.
We gave away little party bags to the children who came. I remember that they included animal crackers, bubbles, stickers, and crazy straws.
After mostly everyone left, a few close family members and friends such as Uncle E and Aunt C (who were engaged at the party) and Aunt Talena's crew, and Uncle Erick and Uncle Jason, and Mr. and Mrs. Shin were all still around, and my mom made us open your presents. You were too tired to care at that point, but you got some cool little presents, such as trucks and cute clothing and a wheelie bug.
Your daddy and I celebrated your actual birthday two days later a little more quietly. We opened a little card I got you, and gave you a little cake, and danced with you. You seemed just as thrilled with that option.
Happy Birthday to my little man, snuggle bug, bunny, baby boy, Captain Rottenbottoms, and all around awesome little son. May you have many more.