It's Saturday. It's 10:55am. My basement looks like cupid just threw up all over it. Foil and paper hearts hung from the ceiling, walls and tables. Pink and red from one end of the room to the other. I'm staring at the front door, and I nervously wait. They're coming. 15 six and seven year old girls for Princess B's 7th birthday party.
What the hell have I done. My friends warned me. They said "Oh God, no!", "What have you done?", "What the hell were you thinking?", "Are you effing high?". "Oooooh it's nothing" I would say. "They're little girls, it won't be so bad" I'd foolishly reassure them. I could do this right? I thought a home party would be special and fun, not to mention a good way to save a bit of money.
It's go time.
And that's all I really remember about that day. Like a trauma victim, I seem to have blacked most of it out. I remember there was running and screaming...I'm not sure if that was me or the children. I faintly recall glue and glitter....oh god, the glitter. I've been told there was presents and cake, but that's all just a blur. After the last girl left, apparently I was found lying in the corner in the fetal position sucking my thumb.
What had I done? What the hell was I thinking? Was I effing high?
Somehow in my control freak/I can handle the world brain, I though I could handle 15 little girls all on my own. Princess B had decided she wanted a Queen of Hearts Valentine's themed party, and I thought it was perfect! How timely. The loonie stores were dripping with cheap Valentine's decorations. I knew a fantastic craft company who pre-packaged great Valentine's Day crafts. I found heart shaped cupcake tins to make my own cupcakes in that the girls could decorate themselves at the party. It all seemed to easy and like a real cost saver.
WRONG.... all I can say is that if it weren't for a couple of mom's who instantly realized I was in over my head and decided to stay and help, I would have lost my mind. They saved me big time. And as far as cost, well, I have realized that weather you host a birthday party in your house or pay to go elsewhere, it's never going to be cheap.
We're big birthday people. Well I am a big birthday person. Hubby thinks I overdo it. Maybe I do. OK, I know I do. I just know that I remember almost every birthday party that I had growing up. It's the one day a year that is just yours. You're the star and you get the spotlight all to yourself for once.
But this particular party changed my views on a few things. First, number of guests. No longer will I be so drastically out numbered. We're on a strict BFF's only policy now. Second, support staff. I don't care what I have to pay or bribe them with, I will have at least one helper for parties from now on. I think the secret will be to only ask my friends and family to help when they are drunk and I will somehow record them agreeing to help to present to them when they try to tell me they are "sick" or going "out of town". And third, I will practice the KISS phylosophy...keep it simple stupid. Kids don't care weather they get to decorate their own cake or not. They just want cake. They don't care that you spent 3 wine infused hours up on a step stool hanging decorations from every corner of your house. They care about goody bags and who gets to have their present opened first.
As far as the birthday boy/girl goes, I believe now that as long as they feel special and like a star on their special day, then they are happy. If there is some friends, a cake, a few presents and a lot of love, they will be pleased....I think. My kids are the victims of my need to "overdo" it. I worry about how difficult it can be at times to tame the monster I have created.
Every year at Christmas and birthdays I say the same thing. Let's go easy this year. They get spoiled, and don't appreciate it. And of course every year it's the same thing. "Well I bought A 5 gifts and so of course B and I have to have 5 gifts as well." Not to mention we, as of right now, have the only grandchildren/great-grandchildren on either side of the family. I swear to god, I could right now, without any preperation, open a fully stocked Toys R Us in my basement. I think I can honestly say that my kids do not come across as the stereotypical "spoiled" children, only because I think that today's parents have changed the definition of the word spoiled. We still view a "spoiled" child as a whiny, un-greatful, selfish kid who grabs and pitches fits when they don't get their way. And don't get me wrong, those kids are still out there. But I believe that although my kids along with the children of many of my friends, are spoiled just the same. We have taught them that Christmas and birthdays, oh hell, most times of year are times when they can get whatever they want. Weather we can always afford it or not. Thank god for credit cards and line of credits! I'd not be surprise if it were found that most families debt is the result of wanting to provide a certain quality of life for our families, a quality that we think they deserve, but often we realistically can't always afford. Maybe it's not always about what they deserve, but an image we also want to put out. We are all constantly fighting to keep up with the Jones'...bu what we don't all realize, and I am slowly discovering, is that the Jones' can't even afford half of what they own.
Money is still an almost taboo subject within friendships. Nobody wants anyone else to know that they struggle from time to time. Like the task of raising a family in one of the most expensive cities in the world is always easy and effortless. $600 for hockey registration, sure here you go. $1000 in groceries a month, sure, no problem. Mortgage. Car. Insurance. Bills. Not to mention the "pleasant" surprises you are thrown, such as the cost of now repairing or replacing my new stove as I dropped an entire bottle of wine through the glass cook top the other day. NO, NO, don't worry. The bottle of wine is fine.
There should be no shame in being able to say, you know what, supporting a family of 5 is frickin' expensive sometimes, and there cannot be any shame in having to say NO from time to time. Maybe we can't go on every little trip we want to go on this year. Maybe we won't be eating out this week, or this month for that matter. Maybe we shouldn't run out and buy a boat, trailer, new car, just because we think we need it. It's not always fun, actually it down right sucks some time, but in those moments, when we're pouting and feeling sorry for ourselves, I'm going to try and remind myself of what I do have. 3 fantastic daughters, one of which is a cancer survivor at the age of 9, a pretty awesome husband who accepts me for who I am, a large and varied group of amazing friends and a warm, safe roof over my head and food to feed my family.
I am not a religious person, and like many of you, I have had some shit handed to me in my life, but still at the end of everyday I know I am truly blessed and that no matter how bad things get, it could always be worse.
I'm rambled out...until next time.