Friday, August 20, 2021

Annabelle's First Birthday Celebration....A once-in-a-lifetime occasion!

 “Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift.
That is why it’s called the present.”
-Master Oogway, from the movie, Kungfu Panda.

On August 14, 2021, we celebrated Annabelle’s first birthday party. She was blessed in many ways by close friends and family, including several presents, some of which were very fancy. In addition to my parents (a.k.a. G-Daddy and CeCe), my sister, Allison, her husband, Bryan, and their two sons, Ayden and Brogan, attended the celebration. Their presence made for a wonderful occasion! Times like these only come once in a lifetime. While Annabelle will have more birthdays, she only turns one once.

As Annabelle gets a little older, she has become more conversational with baby talk, even though only speaking a few consistent words. Therefore it was amazing to see my nephews interact and play with her! Rather than just holding a baby, they were involved in the moment, like acting in a community theater with three stars of the show.

Allison and Bryan bought a baby sports center for Annabelle that involved a miniature basketball goal and soccer net, which speaks with an enthusiastic voice and shines disco lights for successful points scored. Annabelle was all smiles as the family cheered her on with each basket and goal scored. Ayden was her biggest fan!

Annabelle recently learned to crawl approximately around the time of her birthday. Becoming more mobile has certainly shown her incredible, developing athletic skills! Annabelle has also started dancing. She raises her hands in the air and twists her hips from side to side. These moves especially occur when she hears Baby Shark or the introduction song to the television cartoon, Clifford, The Big Red Dog.

The first crawling of a child and the birthday celebrations with family make occasions worth remembering to cherish now and in the future. Master Oogway reminds us that today is a true gift of wonder, not to be taken for granted. Therefore moments like these necessitate the utmost focus to realize just how magnificent life can ultimately be, even if occurring in the middle of adverse circumstances.    

My mind often tends to ponder all sorts of business and responsibilities, but for these special moments, I try to solely focus on the activity at hand. This is not an easy task but is essential for the enjoyment of now. Two big-picture realizations have helped me stay in the present of my current moment. First, one must not take oneself (our internal voice) too seriously. This idea includes self-compassion. I, for one, struggle to show myself grace, however if God shows all Christians who claim the name of Jesus grace, then we should also do the same for ourselves. In other words, be kind to yourself, even when you make mistakes.  

Second, one must also not take life too seriously. One truth we know about the future is that many outside forces remain out of our control. Therefore, why give those future worries and concerns all the energy drawn forth? If a person stays serious all the time, it destroys the joy of the moment in front of us. Life goes by in the blink of an eye, so fast, so quick. Part of me cannot believe my little girl was born a year ago. Points in time flash before our eyes. Let's not miss the most important occasions, like birthdays to be celebrated. Those moments are meant to be cherished.   

When I sit, breathe deeply, and try to clear my mind, I bring my own current space that I am occupying into my present reality. Whether through prayer, meditation, or just sitting still, I would challenge you to do this for a few days and see how you feel. Perhaps then you will be reminded not to take life or yourself a little too seriously. Moments won't just pass by. Those precious seconds, making memories with those we hold dear, will be the most meaningful elements of your life.  

For your viewing pleasure, here below are the latest pictures from Annabelle’s recent first birthday weekend.

("This cake is so yummy!" -Annabelle)

(Annabelle and Mama Lisa opening gifts.)

(Annabelle plays with her cousins, Ayden and Brogan.)

(Annabelle looks beautiful in her special birthday dress.)

(Annabelle with grandparents, CeeCee and G-Daddy Cartee.)

("I am really considered twelve months old, not one year old, hence the sign." -Annabelle)

("G-Daddy, stop tickling my feet!" -Annabelle)

("Man, my cousin is so tall! I can never shoot the ball over him!" -Annabelle)

#daddydestinations #daddy #dad #blog #family #DaddiesAndDaughters #destinations #memories #story #narrative #inspiration #JamesCartee

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