Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Birthday Party That Never Happened


Did you notice it's October?  Two months after the kid's birthday and eight months after we would normally have this conversation?

*taps mic*


One of the biggest events on the island has come and gone with no word... no celebration... no annual blog parade of party planning, goodies or excitement.

My kid turned 11.  We didn't have a party.

Seriously, how does that happen on this here island dedicated to all things party planning?  How did the planner NOT have a party for her daughter's birthday?  Her final birthday before middle school at that.

Well, it's a long story and I'll start with saying that we did plan for a party.  An awesome party.  A farewell party of epic proportions too.  The kid had one request: she wanted this to be her first sleepover birthday party.  She gave me freedom to plan and freedom to do whatever I felt would make for a good time.  She finally said it.

"I trust you, mom.  Everything you do for me is great."

Now, y'all know this was epic. There was no random theme... no crazy challenges or colors... just *exhales adoringly* do whatever I wanted.  I thought about it for a long time.  With my freedom to plan and to do whatever, I had no reason to stress.  It was all on me.  I decided to proceed with a Magic of Friendship theme.  Unicorns and rainbows, stars and glitter, watercolor pastels... this was going to be an awesome party.

With the theme, I designed the invitations.

First, the overnight guests were OFFICIALLY invited as members of the Farewell Squad!  In addition to the Farewell Squad sleepover, we planned to have family and friends over for a farewell BBQ at a friend's AirBnB property.

I loved the design.  I sent it out via text.  I know what you're thinking and I've gotten away from printed invitations for less formal events of this nature; it's just a waste of money in most cases.  This party was going to be epic. 

The venue:

It's the perfect place for a party.  As an AirBnB property, it's rented out to folks and has minimal decor; it really is a blank canvas.  For the end of the porch, I hired a balloon artist to create a pastel balloon arch at the home's entrance.  It would've been similar to this one she did in the past:

Ms. Lucy was making a fabulous entry sign for the front door.  I had plans for the sweets table.  I ordered a watercolor backdrop.

I ordered sweets.  I even mastered the galaxy drink.

For folks not planning to drink the galaxy lemonade, I'd have chilled bottles of lavender lemonade surrounded by petal ice cubes.

My sis-in-love was on tap to provide pretty centerpieces using the cutouts I got from Michael's.

Misty, of Girl Meets Cake, sent her design for the cake.

She said it would be like that cake but in muted pastels with a gold unicorn on top (no baby of course).  I had a caterer lined up to provide comfort foods in mini portions.

I had activities planned:

- Dance contest
- Shirt decorating for each guest to wear at the party (I got them from Michael's)
- Skip It challenge
- Hula hoop contest
- Magic necklace making using these super cute fairy garden supplies from Michael's:

- Unicorn hair station (with pastel braiding hair added to guests' ponytails for a fun look
- Magic gold tattoos
- Dance party

I picked up prizes for the contests.

I designed printables.  The favor tags turned out really nice.

"Thanks for making my eleventh birthday party magical!"  They looked perfect on the unicorn bags.

I cut the ears and used curling ribbon for the mane.  The contents included mini boxes decorated to look like unicorns with unicorn-shaped rings inside, magic-themed pencils with star 'wand' eraser tops, and candies.

Lots of candies.

I broke up each of those lollipop bouquets from Dollar Tree (6/$1) to stretch the sweets among the other bags.  OMG!  The highlight of the favor bags was definitely the wish bracelets.

I spent less than $5 to create some awesome bracelets and tags!  Don't worry.  These babies are blog worthy.  I'll be sharing the easy and awesome tutorial in the future.  Valentine's Day ideas anyone?

Islanders, I had plans.  Big plans.  I invited people.  Lots of people.  I was crafting for an event marathon and my focus was on this party.  It was for her birthday but, more importantly, it was for us.  Then, it happened.

I received a call that reminded me my kid is a kid.  Every kid has a moment where they just do something dumb.  Something that tests you as a parent.  It rattles you to your core.  This call, just days before the party, meant one thing.  I had to *gulp* cancel the party.

Oh, it meant she got a butt whoopin' and stood in the corner and had 'splainin' to do and disappointed those who were closest to us... but it also meant. I. Had. To. Cancel. The. Party.  I said it.

Then, I felt it.  I sought advice from other moms.  I sought advice from friends.  Nobody thought it was worth canceling the final party she'll have in VA (for now... we never know where life will take us).  I was faced with a real decision.

I made it home, sulked to my room, closed the door and flopped on the bed.  With my phone on my chest, I closed my eyes and I cried.  I cried for the ideas that wouldn't happen.  I cried for the goodbyes I would miss.  I cried because -- well, I needed to.  Have you ever just needed to cry?  I felt alone.  I felt ashamed.  I felt I'd failed as a parent.  Then, I remembered that nobody is perfect.  My child isn't the perfect child and I'm not the perfect parent.  I found strength and I, one-by-one, sent the cancellation text.

It was kind of funny because most people didn't respond until they got the cancellation.  OH, so you do get my texts... especially when there's something negative to share, huh?

Suddenly, the shame of being THAT mom felt empowering.  This moment of canceling a party was going to be something she will NEVER forget.

I was strong.

I was mom.

I was going to be okay.

...until a box showed up on my porch.

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