The birthday party dilemma

I started this blog with my annoyed rant about some news item last week and then yesterday a devastating tornado destroyed what used to be a town in Oklahoma, what is now the site of people who have lost loved ones and all they had.  

So part of me wanted to write something somber but I thought maybe we do not need any more sad news - maybe we need to laugh at the trivial things that make our days important to us and to celebrate the mundane by being grateful for all we have.  My thoughts are with those people in Oklahoma today because it will take a long time to be able to focus on the mundane.  

At the end of this blog I will post a link where you can donate for the victims if you can - and if you cannot send good karma and thoughts their way. Remember to tell those around you they are important to you and love each day as it should be worshiped. 

The birthday party conundrum.  You see since my boys were of age 3 (before that parties occurred in my house, with a few friends and honestly if they didn't have picture proof the boys would have no idea if the party happened or not) I have been planning these theme parties.  Now mind you I am not alone.  The mothers I am friends with are really good at finding good venues, rock climbing/zoos/good old health club with or without swim time, and having some great parties (which always result in my taking boys home to the tune of "can I have my party there?" while opening with wild abandon the goody bags they have gotten ).  I tried for a while to do something other kids had not done, oh I know every mother tries - and we get pretty good, almost stealth in our unspoken connection to pull this off.  Then it becomes harder and harder until you go with booking same place because after all it was a good party.  I have done animal sanctuaries, magic shows, swim/gym parties, bounce parties, rent playground parties, kung fu parties... you get it.  Always looking for that goody bag that will be taken (and which will get those kids lined up at the end of the party like a methadone clinic after a heroin shortage, slightly glassy eyed look in need of that fix - followed by slight euphoria passing on their face as they find that lollipop/candy).  I work tirelessly to put these goody bags together, make them unisex enough for the boys/girls after having learned my lesson about making them gender specific and having to fight off the little addicts as their grubby hands pressed toward me like a bad 70s disaster or zombie flick trying to get theirs as they were leaving. I try to match the goody bag, invites to the theme of the party...this is why party planners make so much money - it is a full time job.  

I have a good friend who owns a company that makes gorgeous personalized products, that I have mentioned in this blog before, and her creations have always given my goody bags something a little extra.  I am impressed by the parties she throws as I see them in pictures and wince slightly knowing that I am probably going to do a drive by version of her event.  

My dilemma is that this year I thought at 9 my son was somehow past these parties.  While his brother will get another few out of the deal, I breathed a premature sigh of relief that for the soon to be 9 year old movies and lunch, or maybe a trip to the city to Ripley's Believe It or Not and lunch, with say 3-4 friends would do. No goody bags (or very small ones), email the other mother's as invites and I was done.  I was quite pleased with my idea and he seemed to be too -- until the birthday got closer.  Until my friend who owns Hampton Paper Designs posted her amazing party for her ..yikes 10 year old son.  Until may of his other 9 year old buds were still having some sort of party.  Now I have birthday party dilemma.  I have not planned, it is less than a month away and we are leaving for Europe the day after his birthday.....shit!!!! That's right I curse.

So here I am writing my blog instead of scrambling because I have decided that I may stick to original plan and be fine with it.  I will need some sort of goody bags but I do not need to stress myself.  I do this to myself much like all the other mothers.  We try so hard to make our children feel they have it all .. and they do regardless of the party.  They have parents who care, parents who devote their drive to ensuring they have opportunities and basic needs met, parents who shower them with affection and encouragement on a regular basis.  These kids whose families we are friends with live a life full of daily goody bags.  

I will still plan but a little less - because the only dilemma I really have is not what type of party, which goody bag but to keep doing what I am doing everyday to build my boys into the great people they show they have the potential of being. So let's take a deep breath and whether you can plan a House and Garden worthy party (which if you can good for you) or just a barbecue with some Carvel cake (equally good for you)... our greatest gifts come without wrapping, are invisible to the naked eye and continue to give all their lives... our greatest gifts are those moments of parenting that are not easy but are done because they need to be.  Now off to plan his celebration because I may have forgotten to mention that I actually enjoy it too.


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