After Mother’s Day followed Mason’s first birthday on 13 July 2018.
As every mother, one envisions their child’s first birthday. I already had screenshots, pictures, photos, cake and decoration inspo saved and Mason hadn’t even been born yet. You do a whole lot of imagining in your head about what your life is going to be like when you’re pregnant. What type of mother you will be. What you imagine your children to look like, what star sign characteristics will your child hold? All the adventures you will plan for your little one. All the magical ideas you have planned for their first birthday.
I know family didn’t want to do anything massive or out there because it was too painful for them. But that’s not me. Regardless of whether Mason was here or not, I would give my son the best birthday party he deserved. I wanted all my friends and family to be there, I wanted decorations, a huge balloon garland, an amazing grazing table, a spectacular cake. I wanted the whole kit and kaboodle. Why shouldn’t Mason have a party? Why shouldn’t I get to celebrate and show off my son? Why should I please everyone else and not make them feel awkward? Why should I throw away all my hopes and dreams planning Mason’s first birthday in my head. That’s not fair and it’s not right. It didn’t sit well with me.
I know parents say really the first birthday is more of a celebration for the parents making it through the first year, well I think Saunders and I deserved to celebrate too.
The party would be at our home. I would invite our friends and family. All the people who were important in our lives and that had been there for us. This party was also a way of saying thank you for the love and support that was shown for us over the past year. I didn’t want any presents. I just wanted everyone to eat, drink and remember my son on his first birthday.
I organised the souvlaki stand for Mason’s party since it was a massive hit from Mason’s movie night and we had used them for my 30th birthday also when I went into early labour with Mason. Everyone loved them, they were delicious and I didn’t have to worry about feeding people, everyone could just go and help themselves. I organised a huge balloon garland since it was all the craze for first birthday parties along with a grazing table I created myself filled with sweets, desserts and nibbles. Everyone knows how big my sweet tooth is so I could not disappoint the people.
The cake is the star of the show, the masterpiece of the night. I wanted a cake that had a beautiful, peaceful sleeping baby on the top of it. I wanted stars. I wanted the moon and clouds. I wanted it to be bright. I wanted Mason’s name on it. I wanted it to be perfect. It had to be perfect. I reached out to a lady in my area who did beautiful fondant cakes from home. I had emailed her asking if she was available to do Mason’s first birthday cake and apologised for asking with only 2 months notice. I knew she was very popular as her cakes were amazing and she probably was booked out. She replied that she was flat out for the month of July but after hearing about Mason and what the cake was for, and being a mother herself, she said she would create the cake I wanted despite how busy she was.
Humans can be so amazing sometimes.
I pride myself on being organised. Everything was pretty much done in terms of organising Mason’s party. There was only one thing left I had to do.
Create Mason’s first birthday present.
I had this idea that was roaming around in my head since January. I had researched, sketched, contacted relevant businesses, companies, scribbled, taught myself computer programs. Really I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I had never done this before. But I was excited and I was determined to make this work and I had a deadline. 13 July.
I wanted to give Mason a present that would be around forever, that I could have every day, that would keep his memory alive and also have a purpose. That would help with my grieving process and to ensure that I was always thinking, remembering and loving my little boy.
So I created Masey Moo.
A unisex baby and children’s clothing label in memory of Mason James Saunders.
I needed to do something, I promised myself and to Mase that I would keep his memory alive. That I wanted everyone to know of my son that they couldn’t see. To never forget Mase. To do something good, something great in honor of my baby boy. So I decided to create an affordable, minimalist, cute AF baby clothing line called Masey Moo, a nickname I used to call Mase when I was pregnant. I love fashion and come on.. baby clothes are totes adorbs!…So with that being said, I have been busy designing clothes that I would’ve loved to have seen Mase in.
I had two promises:
1. To keep Mason’s name and memory alive.
2. To help sick babies and children.
The best thing about Masey Moo was that $5 from every order goes straight towards helping sick babies and children. Every year I will choose a different charity so that help is being reached everywhere!
With the launch of Masey Moo, proceeds for the first year will be going to the Mercy Foundation NICU Unit where Mason spent his last few days on earth. This foundation help sick babies and their families in NICU, the babies who stay earth side and the babies who unfortunately never come home like Mason.
And I was going to launch Masey Moo on Mason’s first birthday, 13 July 2018 at 7:48 pm the exact moment he entered this world, during his first birthday party with friends and family.
My first birthday present to my beautiful baby boy.
Pretty epic right? Or hella crazy!
To start your own small business with no idea where to start or what you are doing was hard. I didn’t have a drawing program. I just sketched designs that were unisex on paper, on Microsoft Word or on my iPad. It would be random objects I would see that I thought would make a cool print. I wanted to start off with only baby rompers that both baby girls and boys could wear so that the rompers could be reused by mothers for future children no matter what sex they were. I wanted them to be good quality and affordable and I wanted the sizing to be generous so that babies get a good use out of them as we all know babies grow so fast.
I had pitched my designs and ideas to a few manufacturers. Most of them I had to reject as the minimum order for each design was over 2000 pieces per romper and I only wanted around 100 rompers per design per style. It was so hard to find a manufacturer that would take such low quantities as they themselves wouldn’t be making any money from it. And the same goes for me, it wasn’t about the money to me, I knew I wouldn’t be earning much from sales as I was giving a big chunk to charity but the idea of seeing all these babies wearing clothes for Mason was priceless.
Finally a manufacture agreed to my low quantities and said that they would take me on after hearing what Masey Moo was all about and why I was doing this. They said that they believed if they helped me out, it would bring good luck and fortune to their company. Win win I say right?
Samples were made and there was a lot of going backwards rather than forwards as I was so particular and a bit OCD and it didn’t help that the manufacturer was overseas but finally my first range for Masey Moo was complete. One early morning, before going to work Saunders drove me to the docks where my first Masey Moo romper delivery was awaiting for me. I was so excited, but also anxious. What if they were shit? What if I didn’t like them? What if this manufacturer that I had never met before and put my trust and all my money into conned me?
They didn’t. And I was hugely impressed. I now couldn’t wait for Mason’s birthday more than ever.
I had to just get through one night. Just one night. Come on Giselle. Get your shit together, this isn’t about you. You got through losing Mason, Christmas and Mothers Day, you can celebrate your son’s first birthday.
And I sure did.
It was a cold July 13. In the afternoon a few hours before the party started Saunders and I went to pick up Mason’s birthday cake. I was so nervous. I hoped to God it was perfect. I knocked on the door and the lady answered holding the large cake in her hands.
And I just cried.
And cried and cried on her front door step.
And then she started crying.
And we just stood there both crying.
It was perfect. It was better than perfect. It was amazing. It was spectacular. And it made me so so sad.
To know this cake would never been seen by the little boy it was for. That this cake would never be smashed or have candles blown out by the little boy it was for. That this little boy would never know how much he is so loved and remembered by everyone. That everyone came to his party to celebrate him. That he would never be there with his parents celebrating his first birthday. That I would never have those precious photos of me holding my son next to this cake for his first birthday.
That’s when I think it all hit me. That it was Mason’s first birthday. And that he wasn’t going to be there.
I walked back to the car with tears streaming down my face and quickly wiped them away so Saunders couldn’t see them. When I got in the car Saunders was speechless. He too was so blown away by this beautiful cake.
We got home and we put up the balloon garland which nearly ended in divorces since its impossible for only 2 people to hang a 6 metre balloon garland to the roof of ones deck but we got there in the end. I created my grazing table and Saunders did a final clean of the house. The souvlaki stand arrived and was set up.
I ran into the study and turned on my laptop. I checked my website one more time and had it ready to go for 7:48pm when I would press that button and launch Masey Moo the exact moment in time, a year ago to the day, that my baby boy entered the world.
Our guests started arriving and you could tell the mood was with caution. I guess it’s not every day you attend a first birthday of a baby that has passed away. Everyone that we had invited turned up and the house was packed. I was so touched to see everyone had turned up for my Mason. The mood wasn’t very uplifting at first, I mean I would have been the same but I made guests known that Saunders and I were ok, that we were smiling and laughing and happy to be celebrating. When everyone could see that we were ok and our mood was on high, that’s when everyone felt more comfortable. I think everyone was checking first to see what we were like to determine how they would act.
I didn’t want a sad depressing party. I wouldn’t have organised a party if it was going to be this way but soon everyone turned to party mode and started eating and drinking and laughing and smiling. Just how I wanted it to be.
I kept checking for the time whilst saying hello and entertaining guests. I noticed my mum was at times nowhere to be seen only to be told that she would be crying in the street with her girlfriends. Sometimes she was hiding in Mason’s nursery. I know it was hard, I know throwing a party for your grandson in heaven wouldn’t be easy but its his night. I wasn’t going to throw a big party every year, just the big birthdays. The firsts, the 21sts, the 30ths. The big milestones that children have. I’ll be doing that. Mason will not be excluded.
I told Saunders I wanted everyone to sing happy birthday after we finished our speech. I could tell he was a bit awkward about it but he wouldn’t dare say no to me. I told him we would blow out the candles for him and he agreed. I know he wanted to deep inside but he was more worried about putting people in an uncomfortable and sensitive situation but you know me, I didn’t care about what people thought. It was Mason’s birthday and we will sing to him loud so that he can hear it in the stars.
And we did.
I quickly checked the time and it was almost 7:48pm. I rushed alone to the study and closed the door whilst the party was kicking on outside. As I sat there in the dark, my hand over the mouse ready to click launch, I could hear everyone laughing, a murmur of happy chatter, music and everyone having a good time. I said out loud, “this is for you Mason, this is all for you. Happy birthday my beautiful baby boy” and I clicked the mouse button and gave my son his first birthday present.
The night was such a success. Everyone had a great night, stayed late and got drunk. I didn’t think anyone was going to leave. The poor neighbours.
Mason’s first birthday was perfect. Everything turned out exactly how I wanted it to if not better. I got to celebrate my son’s first birthday and I still got to be a mother a plan and organise his first birthday.
I just hope, I hoped to God, that Masey you were there and you saw how many people came for you, how many people love you, how mummy and daddy love you so much and that we will never ever ever forget you. Mummy and daddy will always be your parents and we will always celebrate you every single second that we are alive.
As I wrote this post, tears stream heavily on my face. I will always be your mummy Mason no matter what. I will always love you and I will forever celebrate your birthday until we can celebrate it together again.