I remember growing up in a home with so many rules. When it came to having guests over, there would be even more things that I needed to follow:
- Your room must be clean before asking for anything.
- If I don’t know the parents, don’t invite them!
- If I am getting home late from work, the answer is no.
- If the house is a mess, the answer is no.
- Let me know in advance!
My kids obviously weren’t taught any of these rules … in fact, they make up whatever rules they see fit.
It was the eve of my daughter Brooke’s birthday, and I really didn’t have any plans. Maybe I would get up and make her favorite pancakes, take her and her sisters to the park, and end the day with a movie on the couch. Simple enough. I give the girls a choice each year … you can either have a party, or we will take you shopping (with a budget of course). Brooke chose shopping! Something she and her dad can bond over, because if it’s not a grocery store, I have no interest in it. The day was going to be calm and relaxing.
7:08pm hit and I got a text message from a random number. “Hey there, this is Layla’s mom. They asked me to text you about the party tomorrow.” I paused and had to read the message about three times. By the time that I got a chance to respond, another message from another number came through. “This is Bella’s grammy, Bella would love to come hang for Brooke’s birthday.” I was sitting on the couch in complete shock at what is going on. Did I send out invitations and just don’t remember? Did her dad somehow reach out to other parents about having them over?
I called Brooke downstairs, to ask her why I was receiving these messages. With a look of surprise on her face (as if I wasn’t going to find out), she explained to me that she was going to have a couple of friends over the next day to play video games together. As I was wrapping my head around this new plan for her birthday, the text from the third parent came in: “Hi this is Amber, Lexi’s mom. She said that she was invited to a birthday party for Brooke tomorrow so I was curious about the details.”
The rules that I thought were in place went out the window.
- I have never met any of these people
- The house is not in order
- I have never met these people
- Entertaining kids were not on my calendar
- I have never met these people
I called my friend who plans all the random parties and loves to over-decorate, because I knew that she would have an idea of how to throw this makeshift party together… I then set my alarm for 7:50, so I could be at Target when they opened. Pretending like I was on supermarket sweep, racing around to get supplies to make the house look like a party was actually planned.
Minute to Win It Games
Canvas and Easels for a paint party
Water balloons, plastic bowls, and a hose
Fidgets, Fidgets and more Fidgets
The girls began showing up at 10:30am. As the day went on, they seemed to occupy themselves and didn’t need me much at all. By 5:00 pm, I was cleaning up, and I got this big hug from behind with the cutest face saying that this was the best party that she’s ever had.
We spend so much time thinking of all the Pinterest boards we have made, the places that we need to put a down payment on, Etsy taking every penny, and making sure that no one is off the list. Sometimes, all they really need is a couple of familiar faces and a home to gather in. The older I get, the more I’m learning to take a second to think before I react. My mom would have turned down my plan and told me that this party was not going to happen. I’m learning to give a little because the return of her gratitude was worth everything and more.