"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Not a party mom in theory

As a kid, a birthday was a cake and a song ... or fruit salad if my mother was "dieting" ... and eight siblings gathered around to "oh and ah" as the birthday recipient opened simple gifts of gum, shampoo, or those desperately needed socks.

It was a great day.
I repeated this model when my husband and I were newly married.
It didn't fly half as well as it did with us kids.

As a young wife and mother, the entertainment bug hit and as soon as that first child was old enough to stand on two legs, I unleashed the birthday madness.  Parties for everyone, I say!

And then I had more kids.
And then I saw where Mom was coming from.

Birthdays and holidays seemed to bleed together leaving me O.D'ed on celebration.  Year after year, parties progressively eclipsed one another.  Friendships increased as did birthday invites that my schedule and my pocketbook couldn't support and I started weighing what things I could actually do with those funds.  Next thing I knew, neighborhood moms seemed in competition and that kitchen table princess party just could not hold a candle to the indoor play arenas and stuffed-animal-building themes.

And then I dropped out of the race where birthdays were concerned.
And then I sighed terribly when anyone breathed desire for a party around birthday time.
And then I pretend not to hear.

This year, Grant (and the other kids) plagued me with reminders that he'd never had one, that he had a great group of friends, that things were different now, that it would never be any easier.  That everybody should at least have one birthday party with friends in their lifetime.

And then I buckled my resolve.
And then I lay down some ground rules. 

Seven kids because you're seven.  Backyard simplicity.  Working with what we've got on hand.  I even tried to push the "bring no presents'' rule at first, though I failed (because lets face it, who needs more stuff ??).  THEN,  I redoubled the emphasis to never ever expect another party again.
And then I put on a smile and went down to my basement to rummage up a little piece of Americana.

And then everyone got excited about taking part in balloon animal making, games, rides and cake decorating.

And it was a good day on the farm.  Even the chickens said so ... though they thought it unethical to serve nuggets for lunch.



  1. So awesome! What a great party! And, yes, he's right - everyone deserves a party at least once in their life. Way to go, Mom! Our family was never big into birthdays and I've decided to make sure they're a big deal - but I only have 2. :)

  2. Well, first of all...apparently you are really good at the party throwing thing! I also follow the one "real" party per child per time living under my roof rule! It just helps to survive. Your photography is just beautiful...really makes me see how horrible mine is! Yours could be a photo spread in a magazine....looks like everyone had an awesome time...hope you did too!