You don’t really take pictures when you have a blog. You certainly don’t take snapshots. You compose images and try to capture “happiness,” “fleeting moments of solitude,” and “the magnitude of the mundane.” If you are really good, you also rock the hell out of a third birthday party for under $15 using nothing more than a ball of eco-friendly hemp yarn and vintage buttons you culled from a year of thrifting. I’m not that good, which I why I didn’t feel guilty about canceling Nicholas’s birthday party on Friday for more than a few moments. Okay, a day and a half.
The previous Saturday, after all the Baptism festivities were over, Nicholas made it known he had acquired my stomach bug. That night and the subsequent morning was a messy business that left The Mister and I tired and grumpy. But, we had hopes he would be party-ready by mid-week. Nicholas was fine on Sunday, weak on Monday, and on Tuesday baptized the car on the way home from picking up Mikey from school. I worked my way through the invite list after I cleaned him up and put him to bed.
I could have pushed it. I could have had the party on Friday with no one the wiser. But, in reality, I was relieved to have an opportunity to cancel a party that became more about the perfect post and less about the boy.
It started innocently enough. My aunt and cousin would be here for Nicholas’s birthday. For the first time in my entire life, I would have extended family here on a birthday–any birthday! That deserved a party. Just a few people. Nothing fancy.
Then Nicholas decided, with Mikey’s help, that he wanted a dinosaur party. I’m all about the dinosaur, so I decided this party would be like the glitter dinos, only better. Those were done on a whim with my boys in mind. This party would be a perfectly executed dinotopia.
I love being creative as much as the next person. I like to come up with new ideas and create fun memories for my children. (All the better if they fit within the confines of my blog, yes?) But sometime after Mikey’s cold and my stomach flu I began to realize that I would never have time to fashion my mesozoic paper garland made from pictures of Nicholas’s first three years. And I was kidding myself if I thought I could make dinosaur sugar cookies or vegan chocolate cakes while a cauldron of sauce bubbled away on my stove for creamy polenta. Also, I didn’t want to do any of it, either.
I love being creative as much as the next person, yes. But, I like to be creative on my own terms. And, when I feel like I am being creative to impress others rather than my children, well, that’s when I take a simple stomach flu and make it sound like the bubonic plague. That’s when I start calling people and tell them that too bad, so sad, the party has been canceled. There will be no garlands or hemp yarn or vintage buttons snipped from coats that shall later be fashioned into quilts for snowy days. Priorities need to be reevaluated.
Instead, there will be home-cooked food and cakes that taste better than they photograph. Snapshots, sometimes with flash, that leave odd blue spots on foreheads. Presents bought at ordinary stores, wrapped in ordinary paper, topped with ordinary bows. There will be in attendance family, just family, and they will watch a three year old boy smile a smile that cracks their hearts in two because he finally gets birthdays and he gets they are singing for him. And it will all be perfect without being perfect.
Because it was.