I'll admit to having had a lot of anxiety this week over birthdays. Namely, my daughter and a neighbor's. And I feel at times like a big party pooper.
It all started innocently enough. My neighbor, a good friend of ours, innocently brought up the idea of a joint birthday celebration. It's summer, many of his friends' sisters play with my children, and it kind of made sense. We'd split the food, have a relatively relaxing evening and God willing, the weather would cooperate and the kids could go outside.
And then reality hit. My idea of "friends and family" and hers weren't exactly the same. The world is her friend, and I prefer smaller get-togethers of a few closer friends. Add in that only one of my daughter's school friends could attend, and I was starting to have major anxiety. The last thing I want is for my daughter to feel left out on "her" day.
A coworker suggested I just buy her more little presents from the dollar store to make her feel like she has something to open. I disagree. No matter how much or how little we have in life, I want to emphasize quality, and appreciation, not quantity.
Instead, she and I talked about how great this was going to be that she'd have a few special friends, and we adults started planning age-neutral games that we could do outside. The fact my daughter wanted a "beach" theme opened the doors to creative outlets for their energy. My sitter even chipped in with a limbo pole that had been bought with great intentions years ago. At least it was getting used.
The treats for guests? A combination of found items - leis and inflatable beach balls, leftover from a months-ago community event and destined for the trash when our co-workers finally got motivated to clean the storeroom. I encouraged my co-hostess friend to pick up water guns, which would at least get used by the neighbor kids in our July heat, instead of a bag of crappy little rings and such, and I hope we can come up with some creative non-plastic baggie packaging.
Twenty-four hours ago, I admit I was anxious, losing sleep about whether my daughter would enjoy her big day. Today, with a little planning, a little creativity, and realizing I have the best daughter ever (who wanted to invite a pal for her baby brother!) I think we'll be just fine.