Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Party Planning Roller-coaster


Well, sometimes you've got to roll with it...  Like riding the roller-coaster that is party planning for a soon-to-be-9-year-old girl.  Lately, we cannot make up our minds about anything (and by "we" I mean "she" even though my mother is laughing and saying "apple...tree...").  We also seem to be constantly on crossed paths where we are not listening to each other.  So often we are both saying the same thing but it takes a 30-minute discussion in the baking aisle at the grocery store and several sketches on the back of the grocery list to come to the conclusion that we are both almost in tears trying to describe the almost exact same thing...  I know, I know...its only the beginning...  
I love this girl so much and I really truly want to give her the world every birthday and Christmas and every other special occasion.  And sometimes in my eagerness to give her what I think is the best, I forget to listen to what she really wants.  And I want perfection so I project that on to her.  And of course, I am not perfect.  And I can't be everywhere at once to accomplish everything that I want to do for her (whether she wants me to or not...).

And my dear girl being so much her mother's daughter really wants it to be her way because to her that is perfection.  After each of these power struggles we have I realize that I'm doing better than I thought because she does know what is important (even if I lose sight) and she always ends up saying it was the best ever whatever even when I know all the little things that didn't go exactly like I envisioned them.  
Like the one birthday party we had at the park on the day that ended up being freezing cold and raining cats and dogs (of course, because we had dry 90 degrees the whole week before).  It was carnival themed and I had spent weeks making giant carnival games out of cardboard appliance boxes that I cut and spray painted and decorated into booths.  I was actually going to take my horse trailer to haul all of it to the park.  I had carnival foods and a roller-coaster cake.  
Then that morning came and I was so upset about the weather.  My house is just too small to host parties for our huge family.  I had planned on water balloons and had already asked guests to bring towels and a change of clothes for the kids.  We couldn't take most of the carnival games to the park without them being ruined before we got there.  So I used some of the smaller carnival games and thought of some more with toys and dishes and I tried to be optimistic.  I grabbed some charcoal to keep a fire going in the barbecue pit that was in the center of the pavilion we were using.  I grabbed some spare blankets too and a big pot to keep hot cider going on the grill.  I already had some other warm food in trays too.  I grabbed the only tarp we had and hung it from one side of the pavilion to block the wind and rain on the main side.  So we had a duck pond game, apple bobbing, ring toss, bowling, coin toss, water balloon fight and darts.  We crowded into the pavilion and tried to stay warm and dry while we watched the kids as they splashed and played.  The kids were soaked from head to toe, covered in mud and grinning ear-to-ear. And truly - the kids had a wonderful time and didn't miss a beat - they all still talk about that party - because it was different and they had a blast playing in the rain.  
It was my adult perspective that hindered me from truly enjoying that party.  Every party I have ever planned, there have been complaints from the adults.  It is always too hot or too cold or too dry or too wet.  The location is too big or too crowded or too far away.  Adults rarely dress as prepared for anything as they dress their children.  There is always someone who doesn't like whatever kind of food.  And adults, well, we just don't roll with the punches as well as the kids.  So I try to keep in mind (note I said try...) that there will be complaints from the adults but that the party is for the kids so I really shouldn't worry about it.  If my kid says its the best ever than that's what really matters.
So while you can read all the party tips anyone has ever shared (like mine here) - just remember that every hostess has had those fails.  The most important part is how your guest of honor feels.  And if you are a guest, please remember that too and remember how you felt when someone was critical of a party you hosted.

1 comment:

Paula Jones said...

So cute! My son is planning his birthday and IT'S NOT UNTIL MARCH!! so every day he has something different he wants to do. :)
I wouldn't take anything for this special time with them though. Great post and blog, I follow you on twitter.