Birthday Manifesto

I am writing to you on the eve of my daughter’s third birthday & corresponding birthday party.  I’ve spent all week preparing my heart and my home to celebrate three years of my baby girl, I’m going to write so much more about how I feel about this later this weekend, but for now let’s talk kids parties, shall we?

If you’re a mom you can understand the stress involved in the birthday party.  I’ve seen you running around with a tray or stressing out about lost candles or not being able to find a bat for the piñata.  I think that we need to band together and set ourselves free from this stress because I’m starting to wonder if celebrating our children’s birthdays isn’t shortening our life spans.

Lets put an end to screaming at our husbands about bags of ice and our children about pick up blocks as the prelude to a birthday, Moms, lets band together and free ourselves from this madness!

I have thrown three children’s birthday parties so far:

1) The Bean Party- My daughter’s nickname as a baby was “beans” and so we threw her a bean themed first birthday party with jelly beans, baked beans and a little green bean seedling for each child.

Jelly beans, green beans and the cutest one year old girl imaginable.

2) The Sprinkle Party- Noelle loves sprinkles, salt, sugar, granola, she called it all sprinkles.  So for her second birthday we had an easy breezy backyard party with cupcakes and sprinklers.  The lawn was a puddle at the end but each kid went home tired and happy.

sprinklers and cupcakes with sprinkles, every kid went home happy.

3) C-Dizzle’s Fizzle Pizzizzle Party- Yes, this white girl threw her son a rap themed first birthday party and I’ll tell you why:  As a baby he was chunky and pasty and we loved to pretend he was a rapper named C-dizzle.  The nickname stuck like super glue, we still call him dizzle, fizzle or sizzle on a regular basis and it made for a ridiculously fun and blingy birthday.

I’m still not sure I regret this party, it was hilarious and terribly fun.

I love the little touches and fun themed parties just as much as the next lady, I’ve thrown that party.  I truly enjoy pouring all my creative juices into creating an event that celebrates my child with food and fun, two of the best “f” words.

There is only one problem with my desire to throw “those parties.”

We don’t really have the means to do it, on three levels.  

1) Time: if I want to pursue writing and parent well I can’t use my time on handcrafted favors for each party guest.

2) Energy:
Our family only has so much of it and if we pour it all into the impressive details we are spent and unable to enjoy each other or the party we worked for.

3) Money: I usually end up pulling out of our savings to pull off a birthday party and that’s not a wise way to spend what we’ve worked to save.

Confession:  Before each of these parties I’ve found myself in the bathroom with a glass of wine and a face full of stressed out tears freaking out about food and decorations.  This is ridiculous and as I headed into the week of my daughter’s third birthday I made myself a promise that there would not be a repeat performance.

Something’s gotta give.  

So earlier this week I made a command decision: I would scale way back on this party, I actually shuddered when I decided not to make coordinating t-shirts for my family and my guests but it had to be done.

I have to say no to the tyranny of the over the top party, it’s stealing the joy out of the birthday for both me and my child.  I’ve actually seen my birthday kid as a nuisance, a distraction from my ability to focus on the decorations and appetizers.

Really? Oh my heart…

I missed the light in their eyes, I missed the excitement, I worried what other people thought as they walked into our house and not what my child was feeling about their parade of birthday guests.

Oh my dear children, for all that I missed out on during your first three parties, forgive your dear mama, she’s pretty thick sometimes.  

I’m determined to find the balance between loving to throw a good party and my passion to be fully present for my child.

More than any present or cupcake my children want their mom to be available to receive their excitement and I simply refuse to be so stressed out that I see their tugging on my leg as annoying.

If I find myself weeping and drinking I will scale back, uh, way back.

If I find myself yelling at my child for getting in the way of their own party I will pray to regain perspective

If I find myself up at 2 am hand sewing felt cupcakes I’ll phone a friend for a verbal smack down.

If I’m tempted to overspend I’ll be honest with my husband and abandon the shopping cart, making a bee line for the safety of our black mini van.

I will still facilitate an atmosphere of  celebrating my precious child

I will still prepare tasty food to create a chance to chat with friends about life and nourish souls and bodies.

I will be present, I will be present, I will be present at my child’s birthday parties.

If I find my focus on impressing you, then I will look into my child’s eyes every 5 minutes to remind myself  what matters.

You matter my children and celebrating the unspeakable gift that God gave us the day you were born is what this day, this gathering is all about.

  • Letters to My Spouse

    Words to live by! I enjoyed reading your blog entry:) Have a great day!

    • leannepenny

      thank you so much! You as well :)