Many mothers are excellent birthday party planners. They develop an age-appropriate theme and source out coordinating invitations, party décor and a local venue. The exact sequence of the party is documented in a flow chart, complete with plan “b” (and even plan “c”) options. The equivalent of a car payment is spent on party food and gift bags.
I am not one of those mothers.
Don’t get me wrong, I wish I was. My kids would probably like me more if I knew all their friends’ names (I don’t), could effectively execute a 20-kid extravaganza (I can’t) and was willing to spend a small fortune in an effort to keep up (I’m not).
So instead, they have me – a loving, doting mother who avoids all mentions of birthday parties until the kids bring it up.
This year, the kids surprised me. When the subject finally came around, they insisted on simply having a few friends over for a backyard birthday party. At first, I was taken aback – you mean we don’t have to invite everyone in the class? We don’t have to rent out the local Bounce ‘n Play?
However, the more we chatted, the more it made sense to me. At ages nine and seven, they had already established deeper friendships with a few classmates, allowing them to select those they wanted to celebrate with. And, I believe there’s something more intrinsic at play: boys have an innate desire to show their friends where they live, their possessions, their lifestyle. Finally, with so much time spent indoors in front of electronics, it feels good to connect with friends outdoors, where kids can burn off energy and enjoy seasonal activities. So, I agreed that they were each allowed to invite 3-4 friends, and I would take care of the rest. …