The Unbeautiful Beautiful

Beautiful squareSimple streamers floated in the breeze.  Free Burger King crowns sat in an awkward pile.  Sidewalk chalk sticks dotted the driveway.  This was no Pinterest-worthy project.  No hand-made guest party favors.  No cutesy photo-booth props.  No fabulous fondant wrapped cake.  And yet, it was utterly beautiful.

“Let’s have a party so everyone can have fun being together!” Our almost-5-year-old daughter had a clear vision for her princess-themed party.

Her heart was simple.  She wanted to be with people she loved.

I had tried to do more.  But the dollar-store shopping basket of party favors weighed heavy on my heart.  How could I justify using grocery money to buy party favors?  And suddenly I was wrestling with bigger questions:  Why are party favors important?  Why do we go to parties expecting to receive gifts?  And why do I feel like this party is a measure of my worth as a mother?

I hovered for too long in that defining moment.  The shop clerk eyed me impatiently.  And then my daughter’s vision shouted an important reminder:  Let’s have a party so everyone can have fun being together!

Décor is lovely.  Creative decorations are so fun.  Cutesy foods, customized favors, and fun games are wonderful.  If you love doing those things: you go girl!  One of my best friends is a very gifted party planner and she thrives and flourishes as she uses her gifts and passions.  Her parties are utterly delightful.  I am so proud of her and how she uses her gifts.  Am I being clear enough?  I’m not saying party planning is bad!  Ok?!

But… the theme, the décor, the budget… should not be what parties are about.  Bags of favors do not a wonderful party make.  So what is the measure of a great party?  I think my child nailed it: people having fun being together.

In that moment at the dollar store checkout, I had to let go.  I put aside my gorgeous dreams for this 5 year old’s princess party.  I stopped looking at my girl party Pinterest Board.  I fought my fear of being judged by the mothers whose children would leave empty handed.

Standing at the cash register, I had to embrace the simplicity of my daughter’s heart.  It was a life lesson for my soul:  Don’t lose sight of what actually matters.

The day of the party was a bit crazy.  Twenty people had rsvp’d but 60+ showed up.  We ran out of food and cupcakes in the blink of an eye.  But people didn’t run away when the salsa bowls ran dry.  They didn’t even leave when the cupcakes were far too few.  They didn’t even seem to notice there were no princess themed games or favors.

Our driveway was overflowing with smiling, chatting, beautiful people who stayed and stayed enjoying each others’ company.  The conversations were long and lovely.  The kids ran and played for hours.  Our community spoke loving blessings and prayers for our princess child.  And our daughter’s eyes sparkled as the voices of her many loved ones sang the birthday song in her honor.

Her vision came to pass.  Everyone had fun being together.  It was beautiful.  I hope all our parties are this wonderful.  Maybe next year I’ll hand-make Pinterest décor… but only if I can keep my heart simple in it.  😉

Thank you to all our dear friends who came and blessed the heart of our princess.
– To my incredible girlfriends and mentors who felt moved to bless Avi’s party.  Thank you for the amazing princess plates, cups, napkins, birthday banner, princess shoes and tiaras, handmade castle wall hanging, drinks, food, and all your energies to help set up.
– To our amazing guy friends who felt moved to show up early and help my amazing husband do the heavy lifting and errand running.  Thank you.
– To all our amazing friends who love our children.  Thank you for pouring your love and care into their lives.  “It takes a village…” and your investment is bearing fruit.  Thank you.

One thought on “The Unbeautiful Beautiful

  1. Jessie Clemence says:

    Very true! We’ve told our children that they can have parties again this year, but we are not asking for gifts from friends. I’m tired of feeling like we pillage our loved ones every year! 🙂

    I’m glad she had a good party; every little girl should!

What do you think?