It’s birthday party time – or rather, planning time for my daughter’s big day. I know lots of folks that have been able to get away with small gatherings for their children. Unfortunately, I have a kid that pretty much leans out the door and yells, “you’re all my friends, come to my party.” There are no small parties in her world.
There are elementary school friends and preschool friends. We have neighborhood friends and family friends. We have mom's group friends. Now, there are barn friends and possibly temple friends (uh, we’re still new to the whole temple thing – friendships pending and I’m sure there is blog entry on that in the future.) I did put my foot down on inviting her whole class. She’s not friends with all of them and frankly, some of those little girls are a Disney Channel nightmare and one of the boys tried to strangle a little girl last week.
Last year, I went all out and hosted a soiree at a ranch – horses, cowhands, BBQ, bonfire –the whole works. It was a great experience due mostly to some rockin’ friends who sweated over the grill, rounded up kids at the petting zoo, prevented major burns during the bonfire and really made it happen. I think they would all agree that it doesn’t need to be repeated. I’ve done parties at little gym, a farm, had a pony at the park. I’ve done just cake and ice cream (she was 1 so that didn’t really count.) I’m done with parties that charge by the head. Because though everyone tells me that only a small portion of people come, I’ve yet to experience that. Inevitability, I choose the one day that is just wide open for everyone. I’m lucky that way.
This year, we’re doing a party at home. Now, I’m hardly channeling Martha Stewart and have no plans to say, turn my house into a barn, trim the trees into topiaries that resemble different phases of my daughter’s life or build a gym in the backyard. I want something easy that doesn’t require my guests to do the work. I want my daughter and her friends to have fun. I want the grown-ups that are there to be able to relax and enjoy themselves.
In a fit of brilliance (like leap year, this doesn’t happen often but should be noted on a calendar), I decided to rent a giant inflatable movie screen and host a backyard movie party. Now, it may be a bit cool here at night in early Nov but nothing that a bunch of 7-year olds in sleeping bags can’t handle. (In any other part of the country, folks would be in shorts & tees in those temps but where I live, any temp below 70 has folks pulling out parkas. I’m not kidding.) I’m only hoping that the fertilizer that was spread on the winter grass seed has dissipated or else the description “smells like shit” will be frighteningly accurate. I figure throw in some pizzas, cupcakes, juice boxes (uh, wine for the grown-ups though I giggle at the thought of handing some of my friends a juice box – Cheers!). A nice movie man and big old time popcorn popper comes with the movie screen. This means less work for
me, uh, my friends.
So, the wee bit of money I’m saving pales in comparison to what I’ll save in stress and Advil. I’m thrilled to not have to schlep a bunch of party crap in to and from in my car. The environmental gods will not be pleased as I plan on using disposable everything to keep
clean up easy my sanity. I know K & D will be there to help because, well – that is just the kind of friends they are.
I’m trying to tell myself that my house does not have to be perfect, that kids won’t notice if the walls aren’t painted and their parents won’t care that the tile needs replacing. No one other than me is worried that my landscaping isn’t perfect or will even see the giant empty side yard begging for trees. Having people over is about visiting, celebrating and being together and not home decor. Because nothing makes a house more like a home than it being filled with friends and laughter.
But, I really hope D can get that ceiling fan up before the big day and maybe I will finally finish the playroom and have those new outside lights installed.