The more enthusiastic Jackie was, the more I dreaded the planning of her birthday party. I felt her expectations were getting out of control. But I understand her genuine kid heart and joyful anticipation.
When it comes to parties, I include all people out of a sense of responsibility and usually things turn out diluted. But I had to hold my tongue and my fear of disappointing others in check.
J had 4 girlfriends over. And the simplicity of this party was delightful. The kids were self sufficient in their play, and polite and happy. Everyone was included and active. They played hide and seek. They ate well and chatted enthusiastically, told stories, listened to one another. They giggled up in the girls room, sat on the floor, raced a car, played with kineto sand, made bracelets and 3.5 hours flew by.
…to summarize it: Wishes were expressed. Boundaries set. Freedom enjoyed. We told J. she can invite 3 friends for a small birthday celebration. Because that’s how daddy celebrated as a kid. The low expectations, simplicity, focus on the essence and friendship, their perfect age for self driven creative playing… she says it was the best birthday ever. And I have to agree. I got to chat at length with just one old friend while the kids had self sufficient fun.
At the end, at lights out, Conrad said he wished he had a birthday like that. I thought he meant when he was a kid. But no. He meant this year.
On his birthday, cancer was looming. And cancer was confirmed. A surgery was scheduled and he never had a big yet personal and fun birthday party. I wish I could give him that. I didn’t understand it because it’s not my thing. I don’t desire such a party for myself. But I loved his vulnerable sharing. And I hope I can give him this. But his approval of and delight in Jackie’s party is a confirmation of how lovely her 8th birthday party was.