Okay, let’s start out with a definition of terms because what better way could there possibly be to get a par-tay started!?
So . . .
When I say over-the-top, I’m not talking about about dropping $40,000 or even dollar bills remotely approaching four figures on a party. Rest assured children has never left my parties with custom birthstone rings nor have aerialists ever descended from my trees. To my knowledge.
Also, my penchant towards over-reaching crafts, cakes, and activities has NOTHING to do with Pinterest as much as I would love to foist the blame on that most fabulous website everyone loves to roast. I WAS Pinterest before it was even a gleam of HTML code in a developer’s eye since I had dial-up internet and a film camera when my first child was born. Chew on that fossilized tidbit for a moment while I adjust my hearing aid and take my calcium.
Now, I have one important qualifier. Since there was no Facebrag to post on, my creations were not perfectly staged in front of rustic wooden fences draped with the prerequisite handmade pennant banners. However, they were enough for other moms to give me the side-eye. Just don’t give my photos the side-eye now. There was no need for the perfect picture.
So that’s what my parties were not. Here’s what my parties were.
There’s the time I hand-painted a dragon on a sheet and constructed a PVC pipe frame to hang it from so the multitude of tiny revelers could joust during my daughter’s “Unicorns and Dragons” party to celebrate her 7th birthday.
Then there’s the time I had a herd of kids construct Littlest Pet Shop habitats using a bushel load of craft supplies. I must note that I never had loose glitter. Giving children access to vials of glitter could be the only criteria needed to diagnose insanity.
Oh, and by the way, my kids have always gotten their very own birthday cakes to dig into. With abandon. We’re kind of famous for it. (The guests generally get their own spit-free cupcakes.)
Okay, one more shout-out to my cakes. Indulge me because I really am sparing you from the one million pictures I want to post from my time hop through my external hard drive, and anyway, how cute is this owl? You don’t have to answer because I already know.
Okay, just one more because c’mon, just look at it. It’s a cake that looks like an ice cream bar on a stick!
Seriously, this post has taken me longer to write than a doctoral thesis on fondant because I have gotten so caught up in the wonderful memories. So what could possibly be the pitfall?
Well, they might have been a tad too boisterous, a tad too three-ring-circus, just a tad too much . . . pushing the bar for what passes as a successful party a bit too high. While painting this dragon didn’t set me up for further sticky situations (unless you count being drafted to paint a backdrop for Vacation Bible School and I probably should) . . .
. . . inviting half the neighborhood, the entire class, church friends, and the swim team did set me up for some problems down the line.
See, I set the expectation that if there wasn’t a ruckus with enough guests to field two complete soccer teams and a cheer squad, then it wasn’t a party. This wasn’t really a problem in the easy-breezy early years of childhood where their friends equaled who sat at their lunch tables. However, as kids got closer to adolescence and alliances became dicier and ever-shifting, this made making the guest list more tumultuous and emotionally charged often resulting in a fairly short list of invitees. And this was completely fine . . . except for the party paradigm I had created.
While I would not have changed those early preschool parties for anything, I wish I had scaled my way back as the years progressed so that a sleepover with four buddies would seem like a perfectly acceptable party. To be honest, I’m not sure who it was a bigger problem for, me or my kids.
Luckily this was not a pitfall that trapped me forever. Time and my ever maturing kids have “cured” my over-the-top-ness. And let’s face it, there are worst things to be than a party planner extraordinaire who wants to celebrate the heck out of her kids. My one wish is that you duly note things can get a little rougher in the tween and teen years when parties are not as simple as goodie bags and pinatas. Now, out of my way! I’m going to the kitchen to get a cake under some candles to make that wish come true.
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