Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sir, is this Party for you or for your Child?

Well, the little man’s first birthday is rapidly approaching, and you know what that means.  There is going to be a party.  Oh what a party it will be too.  With a little help from Grandma and Grandpa we reserved the use of a church’s basement to house the occasion.  I don’t expect there to be a huge turn out or anything, I just realize that if more than three other people show up I am not going to want them all in my house for the afternoon.  Let’s just say we are private people and our house isn’t all that large.

I guess that the hardest thing about a birthday party is the planning.  You have to figure out who you are going to invite, who you’re not going to invite, if it will be themed or not, will there be grab bags for the kiddies that show up, and so on and so on.  Then, you have the added pressure of this being your child’s first birthday too.  It is crazy.  He doesn’t care what happens.  I bet he could care less if he has a party or not.  It is not like he’s old enough to be greedy yet and desires a whole lot of presents to open or anything.  I remember that from Christmas when it took him two days to get down to opening his last gift.  Boy, did we overdo it then.  Let’s not make that same mistake for his birthday too.

Like so many things that involve our children, I firmly believe that the first birthday party is all about the parents.  On the one hand, it is kind of like a victory dance, shouting out, “Yay we made it threw a whole year!!!”  Well, I got new for ya.  That was just a year, and that was probably the easiest year too.  But, on the other hand, your child’s birthday parties, especially this first birthday, are a type of screwy contest between parents.  I justify thinking this because much like having toys strewn about your house is a way to show outsiders that you love your kids, ostentatious first birthday parties are also a way to show how much you love your kid, but they are also a kind of contest to show that you love your kid more than other people love their kids because you went through more effort and spent more money on your child’s birthday party.  I know that this is kind of a sick and twisted way to view it, but it is the only way that I can explain the obligation that we all feel as parents to throw a great big, grandiose party for our children’s first birthdays.  I mean come on people.  Your kid is only going to be a year old.  Does he/she really want to celebrate like it’s the only birthday they will ever have?  No, probably not, but I guarantee that it is important to you though because it will be the only first birthday that he/she will ever have. So why not live it up a bit right?  Oh, if that were the only motive.  (long drawn out sigh here)

Now, after denouncing the first birthday party idea, I fully recognize how hypocritical it is of me to get excited over the prospect of my baby’s first birthday party and want it to be a huge event.  I can say it’s not because I feel like it is a competition, but deep down inside we all know that that is a lie, and I am not the only liar here.  I am determined to keep myself in check though.  You see, I have all these grand ideas running through my mind on how I want this party to look and go, but I also have this annoying, realistic side of my mind screaming at me to K.I.S.S.  (That is Keep It Simple Stupid.)  I just know that if we made the party to big an occasion the little man would likely be overwhelmed and have no fun at all.  Despite what I say, I really do want the party to be about the boy and not about my wife and I.  I am just not willing to labor under the false pretense that that is actually the truth.  If I wasn’t so poor, I would be willing to wager that the little man would be happier with just having a small bit of cake and nothing else for his birthday.  He doesn’t really want any fuss or presents.  However, I could be wrong. 

Therefore, a small fuss will be made and there will be a few presents to be had on the off chance that I am in fact wrong.  To tell you the truth, I need it to happen whether he wants it to or not.  It won’t be a big ordeal or anything, just a little get together that’s all.  I don’t want anything to get out of hand because those are the worst parties to go to.  I am not just talking about the rowdy parties where the cops show up, but the quiet parties with thousands of people there too.  Maybe you are lucky and have never had to go to one of those, but if you have had to go to one you know how awkward they are.  Invariably, the party will have multiple mini-parties within it because hardly anyone will mingle with people outside of their immediate friend base.  If you are like me, then it’s even worse because you don’t know any of your friend’s friends.   So, you’ll be the one guy in the middle of all the different parties going on around you, and, of course, you can never track down the host/hostess because they are always too busy entertaining any number of other guests.   Luckily, this is just my kid’s party and he doesn’t know a whole lot of people yet.  Hopefully he never turns out to be a socialite.  Then I’d be in trouble.     

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