Now is the time of year I have to endure organising them. It causes me untold stress, and I really wish they didn't, as the children love them. My son's birthday is just before Christmas which makes it doubly difficult as I have to avoid Christmas parties and the many school events that occur in the run up to the holidays.
Nevertheless, yesterday was Daughter's 7th birthday party. She had been looking forward to it all week: a party at a pottery place.
Here is what I organised:
- the venue
- the invitations
- the items the girls were going to paint
- the food to eat
- the plates etc. to eat the food from
- the party bags
- the cake - both making and decorating
I know, my list is very similar to every other mother's list. And I wish it didn't get me so anxious, but I would like everything to be perfect and I want all the children to be well-behaved and I don't want to run out of food or bags or cake or whatever. The Cake dominated Saturday's preparation, firstly as I realised I didn't have enough eggs to cook it. Then concern when, after 37 minutes in the oven it was still soggy in the middle. Then making butter icing that was nearly solid and virtually unspreadable. Then decorating with enough pink things to make it attractive for a dozen girls, including writing her name on it with the icing pens my son had kindly bought (with my money but without my permission) when I have never written with icing before. Then ensuring no-one ate it for 24 hours...
Here is what my daughter did:
- turned up and enjoyed herself
Yeah, I know! How inconsiderate! All the hard work from Mum and not so much as a thank you! Friends arrive, she grabs their presents and then sits down to the hard work of painting her model teddy bear. She leaps at the chance to go on the miniature railway (whilst I set out all the food) and then eats. She blows out the candles. She says goodbye to all her friends. She laughs and smiles the whole way through.
She gets home, opens all the presents and then snuggles up with Mum on the sofa.
Ah, yes: that bit was precious. An exhausted daughter, worn out by the excitement and the joy, just enjoying being quiet with me for a little while.
And that, really, is what makes it all worthwhile.