My favorite birthday party as a kid was a tea party my parents had for me when I was about eight. I had a handful of friends over and we dressed up in our mother’s clothing, had tea and sandwiches, and acted like little adults. It was small and simple but I can still remember how much I loved that party. I never had huge, extravagant or most of the time even themed parties. I don’t remember fancy cakes or party favors but I do remember getting to choose whatever I wanted for dinner and getting to eat chocolate cake. I also remember that the people that mattered most were there and that I felt special.
EJ’s first party I was obsessed. I wanted a theme with invites, a cake, balloons and favors that matched. Everything had to be perfect and he was just 1! He had no idea! My husband did his best to remind me that not only would he not remember it but these details will not be as important to him. So, for his second birthday I tried to scale it down a bit. But still found myself running around matching cups and plates and up all night stuffing favors.
This week we will celebrate EJ’s third birthday. I am working hard to focus less on the favors and decorations (and even happily handing that off to someone else!) and more on how we will celebrate his three short but amazing years. How we celebrate EJ. I want him to have great memories of his birthdays but I know those memories will be less about the gifts, the bounce house or having it at Kite Tails (although he will love that!) and more about how many people who truly love him were there and how special he felt.
Last week, he was looking at the photo books I made for him of his 1st and 2nd birthday and I noticed that what he was commenting on was who was there. “There’s Grandpa, Mommy!” “There’s Auntie Kat!” “Who is that baby, Mommy?” He loved looking at all the people that he loves there on his day. He never mentioned the gifts, the cake or the favors. It is so easy to get wrapped up in wanting the very best for him; a fun place, the cutest decorations, the coolest cake. Easy to focus on making the details of the day perfect and forgetting about what he will remember.
My goal now is very simple. Every year on EJ’s birthday, I want him to feel loved, celebrated and as special as I did every year with just my parents, my sister and my chocolate cake. Because thirty years from now that will be what he remembers…