Our highlight reel matters

Published January 11th, 2021 by Lauren Burroughs

I really enjoy honoring my family, and making them feel uplifted and appreciated. I want my loved ones to know that even though our life is crazy and unstructured, their special days will still be very special.

So when I found out that we’d have to travel on my baby girl’s first birthday so that my husband, Jordan, could compete, I packed up some balloons and ordered a perfect cake to celebrate her, albeit a few days late, when we arrived in Austin, Texas. 

But a few hours after touching down in Texas, we were informed that due to COVID contact tracing, Jordan's match had to be postponed to the following week and we would have to head back to Nebraska the following day so that he could prepare for the event at home.

Our scheduled five-day trip ended up being basically an exhausting two-day food tour of Austin (+ Joe Rogan ????), and instead of having a small gathering with a few of the wrestlers and coaches, we ended up singing Happy Birthday to Rise in our hotel room with only myself, the kids and our babysitter.

Jordan wasn’t even able to be there since he had less than an hour to practice, shower and pack before we headed back to the airport. He did, however, enjoy a single bite of her little smash cake (which was honestly the most delicious cake I’ve ever tasted. Shoutout Sweet Treats Bakery in Austin), before having to leave behind the second, bigger cake in our hotel room. 

Such is life in 2021. Unexpected and disrupted, but bittersweet. 

Nonetheless, my squad always makes it happen.  

Earlier that day my husband, frustrated and out of sorts after a sudden change of plans and removal from a fight card that he spent weeks helping to put together, hurried to the bakery on the opposite side of town so that his daughter would have a first birthday cake that she wouldn’t even remember. Our babysitter joyfully helped me blow up balloons that were totally unnecessary but also extremely enjoyed by my wild children. We tried our very best to take a few pictures and capture those short moments of our wee little birthday celebration. 

Today, while I was looking through the pictures, I was reminded that parenting is a lot like our makeshift birthday party. Most days are a total mess — unplanned — disrupted — just hard. But years from now we won’t focus on the mess that seemingly defined the days. Sure, we‘ll remember it. But it won’t be the main thing. 

Rather it’s the short, fleeting moments of happiness that we hang on to. Not the difficulty of the day — only the bliss of it. When I think back on Rise’s first birthday, all I will remember in the center of the chaos, my two big babies held my smallest baby and sang to her. They shoved her little chubby fingers into her vanilla cake and touched the buttercream frosting to her lips. They kicked the balloons around the room and threw confetti in each other’s hair. All they cared about in those short few minutes was celebrating their sister. 

They say that these social media images are just our highlight reel, but don’t forget that your highlight reel matters. Some of these images are the chapters of our life, and no matter how hectic the pages are in between, these small snippets of perfection are our story.