If you are a parent, you know it’s a competition. Whether one likes it or not, and mostly one doesn;t you feel yourself sucked into this vortex of birthday party mania where bigger is almost always better. And the kid and who he is don’t really matter. I have attended enough of these productions to know that the child is mostly secondary, it’s all about the social smooch. However, having grown up in an alternative universe where real parties started at the age of 6 or 7, we handmade our invites, the cake was a family effort (I was in charge of the smarties decoration), we only called our best and closest friends and my dad was the main DJ and entertainment, I am a more than a little intimidated and befuddled at this new birthday world where maids and nannies accompany kids in their activities while the moms chat and have tea, and hired jugglers and potters and magicians keep the pandemonium at bay. I still wonder how much of this kids party is our own desire to project and how much of it ends up being about the kid himself.
Now of course you can want whatever you want but eventually, its all about what the kid wants. And it is harder if what your kid wants isn’t what every kid wants. Lion Cupcakes for his classfellows (since his birthday falls in the summer and we weren’t inviting the entire class). Toy Story cake for his Art party at home. Chalk to draw with on a wall. A Buzz Lightyear T Shirt and only 5 friends.
Logistically speaking, it made sense to hold his 5 friend (plus parentals) Art party on a weekend so that meant his actual birthday would pass by without fanfare and in my world, that is just not right. So, drawing inspiration from what has always been a personal wish of mine, we decided to have a picnic in the park on the actual day. Just us, his people, balloons, a perfect gift or two, a confetti cake (by request) and lots of green grass to run in. Simple, no effort but lots of the right feeling.
Many days later, after all three of his celebrations were played out to what I had happily referred to as “perfection”, all was done and dusted and we had recovered from the cake, Nadi, while playing with something busily on the floor, casually looked up at me and said, “You know mama, I loved my park party the most.”
Somehow I knew that. 🙂