With Sweet Pea’s birthday less than two weeks away, I’m feeling the pressure. The pressure to have a rockin’ partay is overwhelming. Magazines, blogs, TV shows, everyone says that your child’s party has to be THE BEST EVER OR ELSE. What??? You don’t have cupcakes frosted to match the balloons and the tablecloth and the invitations and your daughter’s outfit? Shame on you. You mean you didn’t rent any animals for the kids to ride or pet? You have no theme? What kind of a party is this? What kind of a mother are you?
Will my self-worth be diminished because my daughter doesn’t have a hand-painted personalized t-shirt and $100 tutu that match the party decorations? No. At least I hope not. I don’t want Sweet Pea to grow up thinking that how you look and what kind of party you have are what make you special. You are special because you are you. Pure and simple. It’s a hard lesson to teach in our society, and I’ll probably stumble many times along the way, but in the long run I want Sweet Pea to know that it’s what’s inside that counts.
I read a home decor blog where they just had a birthday party for their child. There were games and favors for the kids, cupcakes with icing to match the homemade pom poms hanging from the ceiling, every food item was labeled with a sign about the emotional significance of the treat, and they even DYIed a patio the week beforehand. I guess that’s okay for some people, but I see myself as an underachiever who will be pleased if I get the crock pot turned on in time for the turkey to cook before the guests arrive. We don’t have a patio, but I figure we can put card tables on the grass or in the garage if we need extra space. And we have a bocce ball set in the basement. I’m sure Sweet Pea will love trying to pick up balls that weigh more than she does. And her new rummage-sale wagon would be a great pony stand-in if I could just find a saddle.
What have I bought so far for Sweet Pea’s party, you might ask? A plastic jar of bubbles and some snacks. That’s it. No pony rides, no homemade tablecloths, no inflatable moon jumper, no goodie bags for all the guests. I figure, she’s only one year old. Is she even going to remember that we had turkey sandwiches and potato salad instead of a catered meal? No. Is she going to remember that we only invited family and not our entire block? No. Will she remember feeling loved? Absolutely. And that’s the most important gift we can give her any day.