HP's first birthday came and went nearly two months ago. I never wrote a recap. That is in part due to the inconsistent nature of my blogging, but mostly because it did not feel worthy of a post.
The internet is filled with images of beautiful, creative first birthday
parties. They showcase professionally designed invites, themed
decorations, smash cakes--some even have matching labels for the elaborate spread on the food
When I stumble across such parties my reaction is never to think I should do that! My inner dialogue is more along the lines of That's beautiful! But thank God I am not doing that!
I do not feel like a failure as a mother or human being for not
creating something equally extravagant; I feel relieved that I am not
spending limited my time and money bringing those pins to life.
is not a post to criticize elaborate birthday parties or the people who
create them. Planning and executing those events brings many people joy
and happiness, and I think that is fantastic. I am just not that
person, and do not pretend to be.
With HP's birthday two months in the past, I can state with some certainty that no one will be pinning pictures of the weekend. Its simplicity was both perfect for our family and unsurprising given my past avoidance of planning such events. Case in point: our wedding.
There were no decorations when we got married. Zero. None in the ceremony, none at the reception. There was not a single flower to be found (who needs a bouquet?) and I wore a blue off-the-rack dress I found on sale rather than a traditional white one. At the time, people told me I would look back and regret those choices. They were wrong. When I look back on our wedding day, I think about (1) how happy I am to be married to my husband, (2) how supported we felt by our friends and family, and (3) all of the hours of stress and hundreds of dollars we saved by not investing in the day's aesthetics.
I applied that same "eliminate unnecessary details and stress" approach to HP's birthday. The day before his birthday we had a
small gathering of friends at the park. On the actual day, Henry took off work and we
had a family day of fun--pancakes for breakfast, children's museum in
the morning, swimming in the neighborhood pool in the afternoon, and
more cupcakes after dinner.
Part of my attitude is a result of my personality (see wedding description), but part of it stems from my upbringing. As a child, we never--I repeat, never--had a
birthday party where dozens (or even half a dozen) kids came to our
home. We had a family celebration and were allowed to invite one friend. That
was it. I never felt deprived or jealous of the larger birthday
parties I attended for my friends and classmates. Birthdays were about spending time with family and the
traditions we created. It was the little things--like sitting at the
head of the table and picking the dinner menu. It sounds simple when I
write it out, but it felt special as a child.
And that is what I want to create for HP. Not a big bash with a perfectly executed theme, but yearly rituals and time spent together as a family celebrating him.
No Pinterest-worthy events here. And that is just fine by me.