A perfectly imperfect birthday party
My daughter’s second birthday party was not Pinterest-worthy, and guess how many people cared? Z e r o. I tried not to put too much pressure on myself to make this birthday party one to remember. It’s not that I didn’t care; I just knew that years later, she wouldn’t remember any of the details I was stressing about except for what she might see in the few photos that I snapped.
I had an internal struggle with this for a few weeks leading up to the party. In the beginning, I really did want everything to be perfect. It started with me asking her what theme she wanted. She just laughed at me and ran away. So I started trying to “get inside her head” to really determine what she enjoys most. The answer was cupcakes and ice cream. The girl loves her sweet treats, and from there, the party theme was born.
I briefly visited Pinterest only to determine that I did not have the time nor the will to make a fondant covered birthday cake shaped like a giant ice cream cone. I ended up at Party City (an abomination to DIYers everywhere) to pick up some pre-made decorations and hopefully a cake pan shaped like some kind of sweet treat. As I browsed the aisles, I found that they were charging $19 for a kit to make hanging pom poms which consisted of 3 packs of tissue paper and some string. For $19. Paper and string. You read that right. A friend of mine had mentioned how easy these were to make with your own materials, so I decided to do that, and it only cost $3. (I found a YouTube tutorial that night and had fun cutting and assembling the poms while my husband and I laughed at my attempts to make them look right.) I couldn’t find a cake pan (really, what was this place good for?!), so I decided that I would try to make my own cupcakes. I did end up buying a “Happy Birthday” banner and an ice cream cone/lollipop garland, so the trip to Party City wasn’t a total waste.
The day before the party, clutching my phone in my sweating palm as I pulled up a recipe I had bookmarked earlier, I was suddenly very nervous about making the homemade cupcakes. What if they were too dry? What if I couldn’t get the icing the right consistency? What if I didn’t have enough of time? I was almost out of regular flour but I had a whole bag of self-rising flour; could that even work? I frantically called a bunch of different bakeries to see what they could do for me last-minute. Then I realized that I was being ridiculous, put down the phone, and made the damn cupcakes. They tasted as good as you would expect a homemade cupcake to taste–not perfect, but I’m not a professional baker; I’m just a busy mom who really wants to make nice memories for my daughter despite my limitations. My intentions were good, and I kept thinking of the mantra I see screen printed on t-shirts everywhere lately: “You are enough.”
Once I realized that, I stopped fretting over the details and just focused on the fact that my daughter is getting too big too fast. I am certain that she would rather have me present in the little moments with her than preoccupied with insignificant decorations and the consistency of cupcake batter. When she’s a little older, she’ll probably want to help me choose her birthday party themes and maybe pick something specific, and I look forward to working on those parties together and making memories together when it’s something she will actually remember. For now, in the eyes of my two-year-old, my best was good enough.