- on August 17, 2011
I've often said there is a long list of things I swore I'd never do as a parent, and I've made short work of destroying said list, one item at a time. Last week, for example, I decided to break down and take a DVD player with us on a trip.
Also, last week, we threw a giant birthday party. For a two year old. I always said that over-the-top kid parties are stupid and unnecessary and who in their right mind goes to that sort of length for a party whose guest of honor won't remember it ten minutes after it happened?
In my defense, it was a group effort, and we celebrated the birthdays of three boys, aged 2, 3, and 4, so it wasn't just all about my Johnny. Still, we knocked ourselves out. Johnny? Just wanted to play with the ice in the cooler. But that was no matter. We all had a great time, no matter what our chosen activities for the afternoon.
photo by Trina Baker of Gallery32
We had custom invitations designed and had t-shirts made. We cooked a fiesta for an army. We had a pinata and a homemade cake that looked like a sombrero. We had balloons and sugar cookies with each attending kid's name lovingly piped on the top. I borrowed a margarita machine, because the adults were gonna need it. We swam, we ate, we snapped a million photos.
It was ridiculously fun, at least for the grownups involved.
Photo by Trina Baker of Gallery32
And as I thought about my rule breaking self, and wondered why we would do such a silly thing, I came to realize this: it's not just about the kids. It's for the grown ups. Are we selfish, throwing ourselves big parties while we use our kids as an excuse? Maybe.
But I tend to think not. As my girlfriends and I high-fived each other for keeping our boys alive for yet another year, it sank in. Parents? We work really, really hard, every day, to make our childrens' lives safe and happy and fulfilling. And when another year passes, we mark the date, for the kid, and for ourselves. Everyone gets to belly buck and fist bump over another successful year of raising the next generation. And if that means buying cheap sombreros and cooking tacos for fifty? So be it. We deserve it. All of us.
Our party wasn't overly expensive, seeing as we did all the cooking ourselves and had it at home, but it was a little extravagant, at least by my standards, because we added some special trimmings. And I'm glad of it. I believe in celebrations. I believe in anniversaries and birthdays and traditions. I believe in photographs and frosting on little faces and memories of evenings decorating cakes and cookies with friends.
We don't spend a lot of money on presents, and I don't believe a two year old cares whether he gets a $100 electronic toy or a $3 set of Gladware to play with. My child wears hand me downs and plays with cups and bowls as bath toys, instead of complicated water-play contraptions. We don't do much fancy, but when it comes to celebrating, I don't mind frosting 50 cookies, or spending an evening cleaning up streamers.
Call me crazy, but I think I'll do it all again next year.