My baby is five. Ouch! Such a sting in the heart to say that!
I wanted to make something crafty for her birthday. I had been admiring sewn banners like this one and this one that say “Happy Birthday!”. A generous friend from church gave me a large collection of fabric scraps, and this seemed like a good way to use some of them.
The banner appealed to me, because I liked the idea of making something that could be used for every member of the family for years to come. I also have hung far too much crepe paper in my time. Something more lasting and that didn’t require fighting with tape while precariously standing on a chair sounded just my style.
It came to me, though, that I could take the banner a step further and include other special celebrations like namesdays. To do so, I would need to change the wording to “God grant you many years”. As Orthodox, we enjoy a chorus of “Happy Birthday” as much as anyone, but when we remember our loved ones on their birthdays and namesdays, that is not the song we turn to first. Instead, we wish that God will grant the person many years. Many years of health. Many years of life. Many years of drawing closer to God. It’s not just about one happy day. It’s about a lifetime of joy in Christ.
So, I made this banner that will hang in our home for every birthday, namesday, and other milestone that comes our way. If you want to make one, I encourage you to look at the tutorials in the links above.
I am not a seamstress, so I made the simple and low maintenance version. First, I cut out 6 inch squares of the fabrics. Then, I sewed them all wrong sides together, so I wouldn’t have to deal with turning them. I finished the edges with pinking shears.
I ironed Heat ‘n Bond to the fabric I wanted to use for the letters. After that, I played around in Word until I found a font I liked. This one is Bookman Old Style, 350 pt., bold. My loving husband who actually enjoys mindless, precision jobs cut out all the paper letters and then used the pattern to cut the letters out from the fabric. I peeled off the Heat ‘n Bond and made another pass with the iron, and the squares were done.
Lastly, I stitched the squares to 7/8″ bias tape. Ta-da! I admit that this was much more labor intensive than I originally thought it would be. It was worth it, though.
We went to Chuck E. Cheese for Hilary’s birthday. Definitely not my first choice, but when you tell a five year old she can pick anywhere she wants to go, be prepared! I’m not a fan of the loud, bright, frenetic pace at those type of places, but it was a pleasure to watch her grin from ear to ear.
I just can’t believe she’s five. This birthday hits hard, because as she leaves baby and toddlerhood, we are reminded that we will never see those times again. As the youngest, all her developmental stages are bittersweet. I remember when my firstborn, Lonna, was little, I actually encouraged her to do things like walk and talk. With Hilary, I lamented the day she did so. Partly because I knew then that when they walk, the next day they run! Partly because it was the end of an era in our family.
How thankful I am to God for these times with my children. Sometimes I’m tempted to wish we could just hurry a difficult age or time of transition along, but then I stop myself. To parent with Christ is to soak up each day. To be present in this moment with the God who is everywhere at all times in all places. The tough times and challenging phases are not something to be borne, but rather to be embraced. When I let go and enter into those moments, I find spiritual lessons that are not to be missed. I wonder what God will show us next!
God grant you many years, Hilary! Many years of health. Many years of life. Many years of drawing nearer to Christ in all you say and do. Many years, my precious! Many, many, many years!