In December 2012, for no particular reason, I declared that 2013 would be The Year of the Birthday. Little did I know that by April, I would be cursing myself for ever uttering those words and praying for our fifth and final family birthday of the year to come and go as
soon smoothly as possible. Allow me to explain.
First, please know that I love birthday parties. I love perusing Pinterest for party ideas, and I looooove planning/making/buying decorations. I love balloons and streamers and wrapping paper. I love gift bags overflowing with tissue paper, and I love party games.
In January, we celebrated Sydney’s New Year’s birthday with a family bowling party on the day of and probably the best sleepover ever with her friends a few weeks later. Also in January we celebrated my 36th with balloons and streamers, flowers and presents, and the best birthday cake I have ever eaten in my life (thank you, Josh!). February gave us a little birthday-break, but we went big in March with a special dinner for Josh and a long-awaited flat screen TV that made my normally straight-faced man smile like he’d won the lottery.
April is home to our last two birthdays of the year. Aubrey’s 15th was a few days ago. She got the exact present she asked for, had an amazing birthday swim practice, and cupcakes after dinner, and this weekend we’ll celebrate again with a shopping trip and two of her best friends. It may not sound as exciting, but with teens sometimes it’s easier to just give them exactly what they want, right?
And now it’s time to plan for Alli’s birthday … and I am running out of time … and I am conflicted… and I am exhausted.
I am running out of time because it’s less than 3 weeks to the big day, and I haven’t done a thing. No to mention the fact that we have FOURTEEN events between now and then. Yes, 14 meetings, swim meets, classes to teach, classes to take, and activities to host in the next 3 weeks. That number does not include normal swim practices, training for a 5k, afterschool activities, or playdates. Yeah, I’m running out of time.
I am conflicted because Alli has more friends than I have EVER had in my life, and the cost of throwing a party and inviting all those kids is mind-boggling. Between her all friends at school, friends at the FRG, a few friends at Compass, and friends that we have just known forever this party could fill a banquet hall. Seriously. I have priced a few places, and with the money it would cost to invite them all, I could buy her one of these!
To add to that, I wonder if at three she really cares about a big party? I’m thinking some presents, some cake, and a few friends would make her damn day! But which friends? And how many? And where?
And to top it all off I am exhausted because … well … because FOURTEEN events in three weeks! … and because Pinterest! …and because every birthday is a reminder that my babies are growing up! My kids are FIFTEEN, TWELVE, and JUST NEARLY THREE, for heaven’s sake! Where has the time gone?!?
It doesn’t help matters that I know that one of the most important guests on the list, Daddy, will not be there. This will be the second Alli-birthday that he has missed, out of just three precious birthdays, and I know that my guest list and venue-freak-outs are really just a part of me over-compensating for that. Alli would be happy with a trip to the zoo, a cupcake, and pretty much anything wrapped in bright-colored paper that she can rip open and play with. Mommy on the other hand isn’t dealing with it well and seems to think a MTV-worthy birthday bash will make us all forget that he isn’t here.
It won’t, and I know that, and even if I could afford that kind of party, I like to think I’d come to my senses before the camera crew arrived. Either way I don’t have that kind of money, but what I do have is a sweet little girl who needs a sweet little birthday party. I am open to suggestions. In the end, I know it will all come together. In the end, she will be happy, covered in frosting, and loving any new toy she receives. In the end, I know that she probably won’t even remember that Daddy wasn’t there.
Thank goodness it’s only her third birthday because at 36 it is impossible to forget.