I wanted to keep Winter’s first birthday relatively simple. We have at least one barbeque each summer that usually coincides with my own birthday (two days after Winter’s!), so we just tied it into Winter’s birthday party. I honestly wasn’t planning on doing anything big, but after being asked several times what my “theme” would be, and shrugging my shoulders and saying – “Winter’s favorite things?” – I decided it would involve her favorite author, Joyce Wan. I drew up a little graphic in her style and made a banner for a facebook invite. I decided that if I had time, I would try and incorporate Joyce Wan’s designs into wearable hats for the adults, since Winter smiles the biggest smiles each time we read her You Are My Cupcake or We Belong Together, consistently since she was about 6 months. I was hoping that wearing a giant familiar cupcake on my head would elicit a great, toothy grin.
In my search for more illustrations, I came to Joyce’s blog and was utterly heartbroken to read that her only child, born in February of this year, passed away unexpectedly 6 weeks later from an undetected intestinal abnormality. I tear up a little each time I revisit her blog. Unrelated to the passing, her daughter was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate (very medically fixable in the US and not life-compromising by any means). She set up a memorial fund with Smile Train, an international children’s charity that provides free surgery to poor children suffering from cleft lip and cleft palate. Since we had asked for no gifts, I thought this fund would be the perfect opportunity to give our guests a chance to donate.