Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Don’t get me wrong: I’m guilty of it. I’ve ordered the coordinating paper straws, the Etsy homemade birthday decorations and decided on a non-mainstream theme. There’s nothing wrong with it. Really. But what my five-year-old recently taught me is kids just don’t give a flip about all that.
Max turned five in February and like most Moms out there these days, I set out to make it a grand ole event. A good eight weeks ahead of time, I ordered him a monogrammed shirt from Etsy with a number five train track embroidered on it and I would have ordered an adorable ‘birthday prince’ hat, but my husband basically threatened to leave me if I did.
After weeks of researching, I decided to have the party at Pump It Up Party and go with a train theme only to discover that finding train party decorations that aren’t Thomas the Train is next to impossible. Grumpily, I ordered a few design templates from Etsy and made some myself.
I put in an order for his cake three weeks ahead of time. The cake was a cut-out number five with a train track on it, and I bought a model train and some train cars to drive along the cake. It was coming together nicely and I had only invested about 40 hours so far. Seriously, I was a little stressed. I’m not sure why, but I felt like his birthday had to be perfect. I’m pretty sure I hadn’t been this stressed about my own wedding reception,
but here I was, printing off matching décor when I got home from work in the evenings and preparing for the party.
On the day of the party, everything was set. The car was loaded with my multitude of decorations and we were off to pick up the cake. I walk into the bakery and they proudly opened up the cake box to show me a train wreck: a number three cake.
“But he’s 5!” I told the cake lady. Like any seasoned event planner, I went into crisis mode. We had 30 minutes til the party so I had my husband drop off myself and our sons at Pump It Up and told him to go get cupcakes. I started unpacking décor and realized I forgot hats. I had no party hats. How could they possibly have a birthday party and any semblance of fun without hats? So I called the husband and put in an order for hats.
When my poor husband got back, he had gotten hats that didn’t match and some Thomas décor, which also didn’t match.
Clearly this day was ruined.
The thing is I was the only person who saw it that way. Max and his friends jumped at Pump It Up for a few hours, opened presents, ate cupcakes and wore non-matching hats and at the end of the day, Max said it was the best birthday party he had ever had. He actually thanked us – and then promptly passed out on the couch.
Now I look back at this whole experience and I’m a little embarrassed I got so wrapped up in it. It was a birthday party – not a wedding. He’ll have a ton more and he couldn’t care less if anything matched. In fact, judging by his choice of outfits on a regular basis, he would probably prefer that it didn’t match.
So to all you Moms out there: take heed. It’s a blast to plan a unique and matching birthday party for your child, but if things go awry, just let them. It seems like the most important thing to the kids is the playtime – and that’s something you can’t buy anyway.
Aleshia Howe is a Communications Specialist for the Texas Health Harris Methodist Foundation and Texas Health Presbyterian Foundation, and Mom to two boys: a 5 year old and a 1 year old.