Saturday, October 2, 2010

Birthday Parties: Perfection in Imperfection

There are times I consider myself a perfectionist. You might not think that looking at the chaos of my desk, but in some areas of my life (like video production) I'm very precise and want my work to be perfect. Sometimes that perfection sneaks into my role as mom, and I have to take a step back and learn from the wisdom of my children.

We're doing a combined birthday slumber party tonight for Bobby and Devin (yes, most of them are still bouncing off the walls at 11:30pm), and I wanted for each of them to feel special. I thought I'd accomplish that by making separate cakes and having separate themes: Bobby with Bakugan and Devin with lizards.

I should have gone to Party City for everything I needed, but I was trying to save time by not driving that far. Surely, they'll have theme stuff at Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Target, or Ingles. Yeah, right. Tip: If you're looking for a specific party theme, check online at Party City. Chances are, they have it and it's not as expensive as you'd think. And they have two coupons in the Knox County school coupon book that you can use once a month. I knew all this and still wasted my time elsewhere. Sigh.

So here I am on the day of their party with nothing but a multi-colored pack of balloons, streamers in red, black and purple (Bobby's choice), and two poster boards with no stickers for their themes. Last year, Bob had made the cutest sign for Devin's pirate party. It was a hard act to follow. I sat down with Bobby and Devin to decorate their signs and told them they could do whatever they wanted.

I wrote letters for "Happy Birthday Bobby" and then "Devin" and they cut them out. They picked out a variety of stickers that had zero to do with their themes, but they were pleased. In the end, they were nothing you'd post on Coolest Kid Birthday Parties, but the boys couldn't be happier. The posters were simply perfect.

Bobby then helped me make every selection about decorating from which color balloon went where to the order of colored streamers hanging in the doorway. Again, nothing for the record books, but he proclaimed when we finished, "Perfect!"

Later on each guest got to decorate his own tie dye shirt (which was awesome before they started). This will be their favors rather than the traditional goody bag. There were glops of fabric paint on some and one boy ran out of room for his name, but once again, oh yes, perfection.

Sometimes we have to let go of our ideas of creating the perfect memory for our children--especially around birthdays. We buy all the theme stuff in pursuit of this idea of the perfect party because we want them to reflect how special each child is. I'm thankful that my kids could remind me today that it's not about the stickers, balloons, streamers, party favors, or even cakes that make a birthday party special. It's when they contribute their special touch that we really see perfection.

No comments:

Post a Comment