Birthday parties

Ryan’s birthday party is tomorrow and I’m pondering why it is that I get so into these silly things! I really love coming up with a theme and going at it 100%. I love coordinating decorations, party games, and even party attire for my kids. I really love coming up with a cake that I make myself that goes with the theme. Why in the world does it bring me so much happiness, be it short-lived? I think a part of it is that I’m fairly good at doing it. Both during the party and afterwards I always get many compliments which, like anyone human, sends my spirits soaring. Last year, a friend teased me that I had set the standard for the year. He meant it both kindly and as a tease, but all I cared about was that they had liked the party and been impressed.

I think that most of my joy with the cakes is being able to do something that actually, usually, impresses my mom. I suppose that every daughter has an innate desire to hear her mother’s approval. I sent her a picture of Ryan’s Wall-E cake (not to be revealed to anyone else until the party). She told me that it was creative and great! Just that compliment was worth every dime that it cost! I find that I strive for her approval more than anyone else’s — even today when I’m 31, married, and have kids! I even seek her approval of my kids, for myself! Isn’t that terrible!!! I want her to love them simply because they need it, but I want her to love them to make me feel like she likes and approves of me! It is silly and does not fall in line with Scripture. It is a struggle that I deal with almost every day.

Another motivator for me with the birthday parties is a bit of vicarious living. My parents loved me and did very much for me. I never went without and as I grew older, they grew more prosperous and they gave me a good majority of my wants. One thing I always wanted was a big birthday party. When I was in first grade, I had a really, really fun sleepover for my birthday. I still smile when I remember my mom giving us a bunch of makeup to play with. Boy, were we a scary sight!!! After that, I remember a year when we tried to have a joint party with my friend who was a year older and went to the public school (I went to private). She had a LOT of friends crash the party and spike the punch. I think that I was 11. We were having the party at my parents’ restaurant, so they basically just started kicking kids out and calling parents. They were really upset for me. My friends and I ended up having a lousy time. There was another year that my dad promised me a telescope if I didn’t have a birthday party. As usual, he forgot his promise. I bugged him about it for a couple of years after that, but never saw the telescope. When I was about 4 or 5, I had a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party, but I barely remember it. I don’t remember any other parties. Usually, it was just a special day within family. My mom would give me presents throughout the day. Then, there might be a nice dinner out somewhere. There were two other years that included friends in the special day, but not a party. So, all that to say, that I think I never lost that desire to have a fun party! And so, I use my children’s birthdays to create what, in my deepest of hearts, I would love to have. Again, it is silly! But I think that it is true — in a shameful sort of way!

I often think how much I would like to do birthday party coordinating as a business. I think that I could offer three categories of service, all according to the chosen theme.

  1. Do the decorations.
  2. Make the cake.
  3. Plan and run the party activities.

The person could choose any one service or any combination. I don’t know how to best price that, though. Nor, do I know how to get the word out without spending a lot. And, I don’t really know if there is a market for it. I think that there is, but I think that I might need some sort of speciality. There are already lots of places to do tea, gymnastics, skating, bounce house, and other parties. What’s to make someone want to use me? Oh well. For now, I will just enjoy doing Ryan and Alex’s parties!

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