Katie sent me a text message at 7am that Mia was waiting for me to get there. Oh my. Time to get it in gear! They were having a garage sale (on the same day as the birthday party - brave girl!) and so while they were dealing with that I got ready for the day. Katie called again and said they were going to their favorite restaurant, Big Bear, for breakfast. Mmmm breakfast - my favorite meal of the day... I was ready to go by that time and was starting to look it up on my Yelp app. Katie called again. Sorry, she says, it's not called BIG Bear - it's BLACK Bear. She is so much like my grandma that way... We've always called her Little Nana for that reason. Both of them had/have an uncanny knack of messing up metaphors and names - usually in a funny way. (I believe I've mentioned my grandma's "Mother Fudrucker" restaurant request...) On to the Big/Black Bear breakfast place.
As soon as we walked in, Mia ran over and announced that today was her "special day." Excitement oozed from every pore. It was adorable and irresistible. There was a table of seniors next to ours (by that I mean more senior than me) and they kept smiling at the girls while they ate. At the end of our breakfast, the waitress brought Mia a small dish of ice cream with sprinkles and whipped cream - oh joy! - and the staff sang Happy Birthday to Mia. She positively radiated birthday happiness. At the next table, the three older couples got up to leave, and as they did, the men filed by our table, and each one gave both Mia and Hayden a dollar bill - $3 each! Mia was astounded. She barely recovered enough to say thank you. It was the sweetest, cutest thing anyone could have done. Always nice people wherever you go, aren't there?
You may notice that the picture is not great quality. You're going to beat me to a bloody stump, but yes, I forgot my camera at home, along with the body pillow, and had to make do all weekend with my i-Phone. Kick me now. I was so disappointed - not only did I not remember to take pictures, I didn't even remember to bring the camera! Oi...
On with the day. We had to make a run to Old Navy for new shoes for Hayden. They were having a big sale, and on the way out they were handing out candy. Mia thought it was in honor of her birthday and I just let her think so. She couldn't believe her luck. Finally, finally it was time to go to Costco to pick up the cake. I thought Mia was going to explode, she was so excited to see that cake. And it was perfect, just like she wanted. A rainbow, clouds and a sun. Never mind that it was a Princess Party. She wanted the rainbow cake. I admired Katie's resolve to let her have what she wanted instead of pushing for the Princess cake. That kind of thing has always been so hard for me. I mean, the theme and details need to coordinate - but 5 year olds don't know that. And she was so happy with that freaking cake. It was great. While we waited in the checkout line, Mia announced to anyone who would meet her gaze that today was her "special day." I've never seen a little miss so happy and excited - it did my heart good, and made me resolve to take more pleasure in things like simply having birthdays - not the plans involved, just the having of them, and a sunshiny day in your honor.
L came to pick me up after we'd gotten back and played a little bit. We had time to nap for about an hour before the party, and since the hotel had brought up four more pillows (YES!! *fist pump*) I fell dead asleep almost immediately. Woke up, got ready, scurried over to the festivities at Momo's house - Mia's other grandma. (Poor kids - they have Momo and Mema - for awhile Mia called me Nemo... so confusing...)
It should be said that Momo outdid herself. Not only had she been up since 3am to work at the Mesa Temple until noon, she then came home and made fajitas and some amazing refried beans and ceviche to feed everyone. Mia has lots of little girl cousins and they were all playing, swimming, and having a great time. They never fight, this bunch. It's really nice.
We ate, we watched Mia open her gifts, we visited until about 9:00. Poor Renee/Momo looked like she wanted nothing more than to go to bed, but she was a great hostess, and we all had a great time.
On Sunday, we met Katie and Co at church. I know that's where you're supposed to be on Sunday, but our time was so limited that I regretted not using those 3 hours to play with my little girls instead of sitting in church. By the time we got back to Katie's, we only had a little time to play before it was time to go. Mia announced that "Papa" said to tell me the bus was leaving at 3:00. Not nearly enough time to play Barbie/restaurant/princess/etc that Mia wanted to play. As I was taking things out to the car, Mia disappeared. When Katie went to find her, she was curled up on her bed sobbing. This is how I leave her every time I visit and I always feel so bad. Hayden was happy if we were there, happy if we were not there, but Mia feels our departures keenly and cries every time.
It was hard to leave, but eventually L dragged me out to the car and threw me in, and we waved goodbye as Mia sobbed. I hate that. When we go see them in October for Halloween I need to get in more playing time. She'll still probably cry when we leave, but at least I'll know that we did some good playing.
So this week the movers will come and pack up their belongings. Katie, Zach and the girls are going with his family to their condo in Mexico for a week. When they get back, Zach will take their car and drive it to Massachusetts, and a few days later Katie and the girls will fly to their new home in "the winter" - this is what Mia calls it because Katie has been telling her about the snow, which she's never seen. These girls know islands, they know beaches, they know hot weather. But snow and seasons will be a new experience. Although it seems a long way off, I'm excited to experience a little of it with them in October. A New England Halloween will be another whirlwind trip, but this time we'll make sure we pack a lot of playing in.
Luckily, Katie ALWAYS has her camera, so we got a lovely shot of the birthday girl on her Special Day