Celebrating a child’s birthday can be a simple affair, anything from cake, chips, veggies and dip to a much larger fiesta with caterers, entertainment and maybe even a DJ. One thing that Canadians share is a sense of community. Growing up, as a second generation Canadian we never had a clown, magician or petting zoo at our birthday parties. Traditionally, my parents would prepare a large feast and invite all of their friends over along with all of their children. It would be a large scale dinner party, with cake, party hats (they were HUGE back then) and the occasional noise-maker, as if 70 people in the house was not loud enough.
I reminisce about those days, those parties and how much simpler life seemed then. The thought of throwing a birthday party for my own children seems so much more complicated now. Reserving the perfect cake from the perfect cake maker, having the right playlist with all the latest songs from their favourite kids’ movie and generally speaking, making it into an event. My love affair with the seemingly perfect world of Pinterest is not helping matters much.
In recent years I have spent as much as five months actively planning out every detail of my child’s birthday party (part time of course!). The point is that there seems to be a shift from a sense of community and togetherness to the perfect event. At the end of the day, the kids hardly seem to notice the difference and I can’t help but wonder who all the hoopla is actually for, my child, or me? Is it to fulfill this inner Martha Stewart mothering mantra in which everything must be perfect, incredible and Instagram worthy?
This year however things are different. Due to circumstances, my child’s birthday is around the corner and I have done absolutely nothing as far as party planning goes. While the Pinterest-worthy mama wannabe in me is cringing at the feeling of imperfectness, the real-deal-make-the-best-with-what-you-have side of me is starting to wrap my head around throwing a simple kids shindig in a few days time. Can it be done? Probably. Will it do? Yes. My son’s already told me he would like to just have a few friends over, pizza, chips and listen to “everything is awesome” for the gazillionth time. Once I take off my white apron and undo my proverbial up-do and see things from his perspective, I realize that yes, everything is awesome.