Sunday, June 2, 2013

Favorite Day of All

Here we are, outside Noodles
On the thirtieth of May, two of my favorite people are celebrated. It. Is. Fabulous. It hasn't always been fabulous. I used to stress out over big parties. Even before the days of Pinterest, I could complicate a simply lovely day with the best of them! Growing up all over the country, we didn't do birthday parties with lots of friends. In a knee-jerk reaction, I started doing big parties from my kids' first birthday til their fourth. That's when a friend of mine mentioned she didn't want her kids to think birthdays were all about big parties and tons of presents. I took pause. 

And we scaled back. We intend to do a larger party a couple more times because there's a place for big events, but it doesn't work every year for us. These days, I make them each a cake, the flavor of their choice and decorate each by adding food coloring to store bought frosting. To keep the decorating simple, I've stuck small toys on top. I love that they look perfect (unlike anything I could make with molds and frosting) and it's not an extra expense if I'm buying them the toys as gifts anyway. This year their gifts wouldn't work on cakes and I worried they'd seem plain. Especially since the kids are used to the toys. But once the candles were on them and lighted, they still looked pretty. We go out to dinner with local grandparents and come home for cake and presents. 

Do they ask if they can invite friends? Yes and we tell them, "Only Grandma and Grandpa are coming." They remember their last elaborate party and dream of another one, but I was immensely satisfied when they got to the end of the night and exclaimed, "This is the BEST birthday EVER!" Much like easier holidays, sometimes we're surprised by where our happiness comes from. 

Simplifying means I can remember what the day's about. Brian pulled out our photo album with the kids' birth and we remembered. We wondered over how far they've come and how much they've grown. We enjoyed each other and took it slow. I saw my beautiful kids and felt grateful they'd been born. I basked in the glow, watching how their grandparents, near and far, loved on them. This awareness, if I catch it at all, is fleeting amidst the buzz of a party. I can't soak much in when I'm playing catch-up as hostess. 

I read a quote lately from Rachel of Hands Free Mamma. She'd been asked, "How do you do it all?" which she answered with an epiphany, "I miss out on life, and what I miss I cannot get back." Her honesty floored me. This is how I feel about birthday parties, although, if one of my chickadees' love language turns out to be acts of service, I will go all out with a party. After all, I want them to feel loved, whether that means quietly connecting or a big shindig. Even if it totally stresses me out, they'll see that and say, "Wow, Mom must really love me because she threw me a party even though she looks like she stuck her finger in a light socket afterward." That's love people. 

Love, love, love you guys. So much.



  1. Love simple and sweet birthdays. I have 5 children and have simplified. Now I buy a cake, decorate with toys (we already own), allow 2 friends, put a few streamers over the table, and get helium balloons (1 for each + 1 to pop). That, along with some chips and chocolates, is it. No more matching Disney tableware, planning games, stuffing goodie bags, oodles of children, etc. Balloons are so easy and look super festive. It has become our tradition.

    1. That sounds lovely! When simpler means less stress, it's definitely sweeter. :)