April 13, 2011

What’s The Deal With Birthday Parties Anyway?!

Birthday Parties!Seriously, what’s the deal with birthday parties these days?!  I remember my birthday parties when I was growing up, and they were so simple.  My mother was super creative, so she always made the parties seem darling and fun.  But I’m sure she didn’t spend more than $20 on a birthday party for us—IF we had a birthday party. 

Now I don’t say this as a “poor me” because I didn’t feel sorry for myself!  I never have felt that sorry for myself, but I still can appreciate the stark contrast between the little birthday parties I remember having with my 4 to 7 girlfriends at my house with homemade games, homemade cake, tiny little crafts and some outdoor time to get our party dresses dirty. 


And now I go to birthday parties, and I think I would have passed out as a kid if I had a party like that!  I don’t know if it’s just that my family was super poor or if I have a particularly overachieving group of friends or that we now believe that the birthday party is such a core part of our child’s lives that it will truly enhance their experience as a child and later an adult—in such a deep way that it can’t be missed.  We have recently been to birthday parties with horse-back riding, bouncy houses, spreads of food and drink, three types of celebratory desert, a cake, the “creative desert that follows the theme but can’t replace the cake.”  There are not one, not two but five activities spread about, adult beverages (obviously showing I know smart people) face painting, party balloons in any shape you choose and recently I went to a birthday party where there were shade tents placed perfectly about for parents to lounge while their children feast upon decadent treats, run about gleefully (sometimes even in costume) and ask for more!  They have NO idea that other children in other countries get a great big “Happy Birthday” and maybe a cake and some family about the table, smiling and hugging them.  They have no idea that a birthday party doesn’t actually induce adrenaline function in the body.  They have no idea that they get to attend sometimes twice a weekend—some sort of celebration that eclipses the last with a new theme, better gift bags.  And by the way, who made that shit up?!  So now you have to throw a big-assed party with clowns and live animals and a side show when the kids get above 7 and THEN you have to give people gifts for showing up!  Really?!  What else can I do for ya?  You bring me a gift, I’ll give you a gift, then you send me a thank you card, to which I will clearly say “thank you” for sending.    I’ve even heard recently that I would be asked (and I’m truly excited) to join in a birthday party with a fashion show!  Really???   How freaking awesome is that?!  And it’s not the first one I’ve heard of, but it’s the first one I’ll be attending.  And now that my friend has mentioned it, I’ll so be annoying her to let me help…  cause who gets to have a show like that when you have boys?  I’m doing a paragliding birthday party for my boys this year, by the way.  I figure since their birthdays are so close—we may as well do something a little more special.  We’ll take everyone off the mountain behind the house and land in the back yard where we’ll sword fight and swallow fire.  We’ll roast pig on a spit, and the kids can decide which hot sauce they’d like to use, while the catering team throws together crustless peanut butter and jelly for the picky kids and little ice sculptures of their likenesses in the color of their choice.  The best part will be that in the center of the ice sculpture will be a special prize—instead of gift bags, rare coins.  If you swallow it, too bad.  But if you manage to keep it, it’s yours—to keep and hold onto and sell when you’re older. 


Okay, I just had to get that out because I’ve left the last couple parties feeling like I am just not cut out for this.  I have my creative juices, but I’d really have to save up for awhile to compete with all this!  Sooo, luckily I have several months before I have to invite my friends to our party, and several banks to rob…   shouldn’t be too much trouble…  I really want my kids to be happy.  (insert sarcastic smile)