So, that title is a little on the longwinded side. Most of the posts here usually are heavy on the pictures, but not so much on the words. This post is going to be a little more wordy than what you’ll usually find here, but it’s something that I’ve been wanting to write for awhile now. If you get a little tired of reading it all, feel free to just look at the picture of the yummy ice cream cake below and move on!!
Yesterday, was our school district’s first day of the 2014-25 school year. After the first day last year, I ordered a small ice cream cake for the kids. Earlier this week, my Sam asked if I was going to get another ice cream cake for them this year. Since he and Mira enjoyed it so much last year, and, frankly, none of us were too excited about summer ending, I decided to order one from Baskin Robbins. I texted a few neighborhood moms and invited them to come over to help us eat the cake.
Honestly, I sometimes don’t have people over to the house because it’s kind of a mess or I have lots going on that week so I don’t feel like hosting a big party. I think we all sometimes do this – make excuses to avoid inviting people into our homes and even our hearts. Or we fall into a trap that we have to cook or make something elaborate in order to have people over. For this little get together, I set aside all those second thoughts and doubts. Instead, I picked up the cake, set out some grapes, a bowl of chips and some lemonade. About 10 minutes before I went to pick up my son from school, I saw the roll of kraft paper in the office, so I unrolled it and used his markers to write “First Day of School” on it for a tablecloth.
The ice cream cake was plenty to feed 10 kiddos and 5 mommas (plus one cutie pie baby who was too little to eat). The kids played in the basement, then went outside to play kickball and whiffle ball, while the mommas sat inside and just chatted. There were no take home favors, no crafts, and no organized games or activities. After everyone left, my son said, “That was awesome! Can we do that tomorrow?” After I told him that I didn’t think the other moms would want their kids eating ice cream cake every day after school, he said to me, “Well, if we can’t do it tomorrow, can we do it again next Tuesday? We can celebrate getting through the first week of school?” Sometimes it’s the simplest of gatherings that are the most fun!
I’m not saying I don’t love a beautifully designed party with lots of little special details. Planning those types of parties also makes my heart skip a beat! I loved every second of planning my Mom’s 60th birthday party dinner. Hosting a party with details that matter to the guest of honor is my way of writing a love song to that person. Words don’t always come easily, but I feel ease spending time in the kitchen pouring the love that I have into food. I definitely don’t tell the people that I hold dear to me how important they are to me nearly as much as I should. And, with certain people, like my in laws, I find it much easier to host and plan an anniversary party for them than I do simply saying “I love you” to them. It just comes easier to me than letting the words out of my mouth, not that I’m not trying to work on that, too.
Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve attended several parties where the host has apologized to me. Maybe it’s because I’m a party blogger, but several of moms of my kids’ friends have commented about what they assume I am thinking about their party. It usually goes something like this: “You must be dying that I just rented out this pool for the party and didn’t plan some elaborate themed party”. But, what I’m really thinking is THANK YOU: thank you for inviting Mira to your party, thank you for raising a beautiful girl who has been such a good friend to Mira, thank you for planning a party that will wear out my active little guy so that he goes to bed early tonight, thank you so much for remembering not to serve tree nuts that Sam is allergic to, thank you for reaching out to me on that field trip and becoming a great friend. I would bet that most of you mommas out there are thinking similar thoughts at a child’s birthday party, too. And, I know for certainty that no kid has ever left a birthday party thinking that the party wasn’t fun because there was no “happy birthday” banner hanging on the mantle!
If you just love searching Pinterest for hours for ideas and planning elaborate parties with all sorts of coordinated décor, you should totally go for it! If it brings you joy to make a huge, fantastic birthday cake, get out your baking stuff and make something beautiful! If you love hanging out with friends and family but don’t have the desire to do all that, don’t second guess yourself! Order pizza for dinner, buy a cake or some ice cream at the grocery – just don’t make yourself miserable doing something you don’t want to do because you saw it on Pinterest. And, please don’t avoid entertaining and gathering your loved ones because the idea of hosting a get together is too daunting. At the end of the day, what people are going to remember most about your get-togethers is how you made them feel, not whether you served them a five-course meal or not. So, sometimes I might go the simpler route for entertaining and other times I will throw themed party with lots of little DIY touches because I truly enjoy hosting both types of gatherings. But either way, my goal for entertaining is to try to make all my guests feel like they are always welcomed and loved!
What are your thoughts on this?