march is birthday season around here. cakes, party, gifts. both thalia & kieran, my middle kids, arrived just as spring was getting her groove on. which lends a big ol’ “wahoo!” to the advent of spring.
march is also one time of year when i yank out all my mothering insecurities, lay them carefully on the table, & try to iron them out. mid-february of every year, i start to get an internal jitter. not one but TWO birthdays are coming, & what are we going to do? what kind of theme do they want? (i hate themes.) what kind of cake? where should we go & do i have to come up with games? bah.
when this quaver starts, i begin chattering at andy. which he loves. & i try to be all nonchalant about it: “ummm, hey andy — uh, what should we do for the kids’ birthdays this year?” trying to act cool, like i don’t really care what we do. it’s no biggie. my entire persona as a good mother is absolutely not hinging on my birthday performance.
andy: “i don’t know.”
me: “we could blah, blah, blah. . . ” & i keep rattling, because, you know. that’s fun to listen to.
the funny thing is, i know that i know that i KNOW that i don’t have to arrange a spectacular, wonderful, magnificent extravaganza for my children with clowns & balloons & a unicorn jumping out of a cake. but part of me gets all pinterested & feels insecure at my inability to conjure up one interesting party game. (i hate party games.) i do this every year — dread birthday season — & every year it’s a remarkable time of lavishing love on the kids, in spite of me & my panic.
maybe i’m not the only one who gets hung up on trying to be impressive instead of just trying to be, & letting that be enough.
with that disclaimer out of the way, i give you the 2014 edition of March Birthdays at the Britz House: thalia crafted her own cake design this year, a leaf on a chocolate cake. the kids voted for a renaissance/Lord of the Rings party. thal & her pals. while i hid in the kitchen stirring something, andy & his mom & the kids turned our living room into a forest. i called it Mirkwood, thinking i was smart. javin reassured me i wasn’t. the pinata Grandma Maria (“GraMaria”) crafted for us, completele with javin’s angry bees. the icecream, by my brother & our friend henry, who owned that big blue beauty. this is about the best shot i could get of kieran. he mowed through his presents, tissue paper flying, while i scrambled to connect gift to card to giver. an absolute devouring, wolf on prey. a very smiley, cute wolf. thalia, meanwhile, savored. assembling legos with auntie Jen’s adept guidance. part of my inner circle, these dear women who wash dishes at parties & corral children for gift-opening & compliment my cake. Papa Don with my nephew, Gabriel. Gramaria singing the pinata song & directing the smacking.
the candy flew, the cake went fast, the icecream was amazing, we played no party games (though andy & the kids prepped some). the kids even took themselves outside while the adults sat & had conversation. i know. i had to blink hard to make sure it was real.
so, my party-planning assessment is this: pretty much, after a solid Word to the heavens, i sat back & watched each festive detail spring into action, no worry required.
who knew my panic wasn’t necessary?
& you know what? it may have been the best party we’ve had yet.