Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day presence

Katie's birthday falls within a week of Father's Day every year. This is a good thing, as we're so wrapped up in celebrating her special day we don't wallow in missing Steve. (Really, we don't often wallow. But it's kind of a fun word to say.)

Today, for the first time since 2006, I hosted a child's birthday party at the house. The last one was Cooper's fifth birthday, a big shindig with adults and children; we grilled out back and entertained for hours. One of my favorite photos of the four of us was taken by Betty on the front porch that day.

July 2006
Six sweet girls came over to help celebrate Katie turning 7. (In years past, I would have invited more, but my re-entry into birthday parties at home necessitated a small crowd.) The theme was loosely based on one of Katie's favorite book characters, Junie B. Jones.

I wallowed a little bit this morning as I was baking Katie's cake (lemon because Junie B.'s favorite dessert is lemon pie, and Katie thought lemon cake was close enough), wishing that Steve were here to take over for frosting and decorating the cake. It was one of his great hidden talents, honed by years of practice at the Ann Arbor Baskin-Robbins.

I didn't attempt anything fancy -- just a plainly frosted cake with whimsical candles as chosen by Katie.

Katie before the party, with cake and Steve candle 
Even without an expertly decorated cake, Steve's presence was part of Katie's celebration. As I often do on special days, I wore Steve's wedding band on my right hand. We set out the special Steve candle for the party, and I lit it when I lit Katie's cake candles.

Tyra and Katie
(If you look closely, you can spy that July 2006 photo on the mantel.)
Katie blows out seven candles plus the Steve candle.
And when Katie laughed, she laughed with the same gusto and wild abandon that her Daddy was known for.
Katie's laugh is contagious.

(Big thanks to Betty, who cooked and served dinner, including spaghetti and meatballs -- Junie B.'s favorite meal. And to Liz, who made Katie a fresh lei to wear -- in honor of Junie B.'s trip to Hawaii -- and helped the craft table run smoothly. And to Naida who stayed and helped, too.)

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