Writer, new mom, and old soul, Grace Wilson, introduces a new column exploring the pleasures and pitfalls of parenthood, learned at the knees of Evangeline Pearl.
Ever since June 22, 2016, pacifiers, half-eaten popsicles, pearl necklaces and other items previously foreign to me have crept into my life and the crevices of our home.
There are so many things that happen in the first few years of a child’s life, but since you are walking around like someone just hit you in the face with a frying pan, it’s hard to remember them all.
I’m grateful to have a space to start sharing some of these moments. Welcome to our new column: Mother of Pearl.
There won’t be any parenting advice here, since I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. In fact, you can take these vignettes and make notes of what not to do.
These are old tricks, but I’m a new dog. Take for instance the first birthday. How many times have we heard not to make a big deal out of a child’s first birthday?
Not enough, obviously.
This is a perfect example, like a house fire, of how a small thing can wind up so out of control so quickly. (And yes, there was a small house fire as we were prepping for Pearl’s party.)
The first sign that things were about to get silly should have been when people who didn’t come to our wedding (an equally out of control situation) began booking plane tickets to fly across the country for this event.
An event she’ll never remember.
But is forever burned in our memories.
What started out as a simple plan to blow up a few baby pools and grill some hotdogs turned into a full-blown Hawaiian luau, complete with a whole roasted hog from Williams BBQ and a fire dancer from New Orleans.
My in-laws, who spent many years in Hawaii, lovingly prepared authentic Hawaiian side dishes and appetizers for days. About an hour before the party, there was what the Bay St. Louis Historical Society now refers to as “The Great Panko Breadcrumb Fire of 2017,” which my husband put out with a fire extinguisher, with a bug sprayer strapped to his back as wasps were stinging him under his shirt.
Honestly, it’s a wonder anyone in my family is still speaking to me.
Turns out, my ever-thoughtful Husband didn’t even need to spray for bugs in the yard because, like clockwork, as soon as the Bay Rats Marching Battery began to play, the bottom fell out of the sky in the most epic summer rainstorm of recent memory. Did I not mention that a full children’s band came to perform?
Those kids played their hearts out so beautifully. I wish I could have enjoyed the moment a bit more, but I was too busy praying a lighting bolt wasn’t going to strike the huge oak branch they were playing under.
The kids and their equipment survived and I must have stopped praying for a second because the next thing I knew lightning came so close to the house, it shot through the amplifier and metal guitar strings and zapped one of my favorite New Orleans musicians. Did I not mention that singer-songwriter Sarah Quintana had come to serenade?
Music was moved to the Great Hall.
The cake got mistakenly ordered from the Claiborne Hill in Picayune, not Waveland. A drag queen came to the rescue with cookies.
Pearl, worn out from all the action, fell asleep long before candles, cake and ice cream. As people drifted out, more came in. Just as a second wind was filling my sails I finally took a moment to look around at the lovely village that was helping raise this sweet baby and realized that once again in life, nothing went to plan, but in the end everything was perfect.
My family and I are so honored to be a part of the amazing community in Bay St. Louis. Pearl has already had so many adventures around the places and characters of Old Town. We are looking forward to sharing a bit of child-rearing antics with you all.
I’d love to hear your stories and advice when it comes to throwing birthday parties for the kiddos. Email me at : email@example.com