The Day After the Party
The Minnie Mouse balloons are deflated, dirty serving dishes fill the sink, and a small stack of gifts and gift bags are piled in the corner. The kid begs for her favorite gifts to be opened, and I struggle against that darn toy packaging while she not-so-patiently waits. While I work to free Strawberry Shortcake from her plastic and cardboard bonds, I ask my kid about her favorite part of the party. “Playing with my friends! And the donuts!”
Ah, those donuts!
This year I decided to reject all the stressful aspects of throwing a child’s birthday party and just enjoy my two daughters growing another year older. We originally planned to bring our youngest daughter on a camping trip with her cousins, but rain and a fever halted those plans. At the very last minute, I’m talking about two days before, we decided to host a small party for our girl because a cancelled camping trip is most disappointing. I contacted her grandparents, aunts and uncles, and a couple of close friends to invite them over for supper on a Saturday night.
And thus began a parenting adventure I didn’t anticipate…planning and throwing a party all in one day! Because I had approximately 8 hours to pull it off, only the most important party elements made the cut – a semi-clean house, food, and one or two special requests from our girl. There were no homemade party banners or Pinterest inspired games and certainly no designer cake to bring together a well thought-out theme. That brings me back to those donuts.
After we had spent a couple hours making the house “good enough” for guests, the kid and I went to the dollar store for paper goods, then the local party store to pick out some balloons. Because she was wearing an Elsa shirt, I encouraged Elsa balloons, so there would be some semblance of a theme. NOPE. Minnie Mouse balloons is what she wanted. Great! A mixed theme! And then I told her we were going to the grocery store, so I could buy hot dogs and all the fixings, and she could pick out a cake. NOPE. No cake. No cupcakes. She wanted donuts. She insisted on donuts. Whatever. This was HER day. We made our way to Krispy Kreme and picked up 2 dozen glazed and one dozen chocolate lovers.
When we got home with the donuts, my husband laughed and arranged them on our cake stand. My kid had a donut cake, y’all. And you know what? It was a hit! Kids and adults alike were thrilled about those donuts. More importantly, it was what my daughter wanted for her day. She couldn’t have been happier if we’d spent four times as much on a three tiered fondant covered piece of art.
The day after the party as I was gently folding the gift bags for the gift closet, and listening to my little girl play with her new toys, I decided I was thankful for our one day party planning adventure. We only had room for what was necessary and the things my daughter wanted. No time to stress over the perfect theme or the guest list or the invitations or party favors or a gourmet menu. Out of necessity the party was simple and full of only our daughter’s favorite things and people. The kids – all her cousins and a couple of friends – played in the backyard and in the girls’ bedroom. The adults sat comfortably around the kitchen table and the fire pit. Conversation and laughter could be heard from every corner of the house. We ate donuts and hot dogs, drank sweet tea, sang Happy Birthday, enjoyed the company without feeling the need to entertain, and we celebrated five years of a very special girl.
She loved it. And so did her mama.