We were initially going to turn our home into Ella’s Pizzeria, for her dire love of the stuff, but since hot ovens and sweaty bodies and limited air flow don’t make for the best of times in February heat, we went with another favourite: our local water park. In rainbow.
This was an especially fun party to plan, and as we were setting up, a whole throng of children swam to the edge of the pool to watch us. “Ella’s Nail Bar. That’s so cool.”, one child said. I pretended that such a trivial thing couldn’t make me so happy, but who I am kidding – it could, and besides, I’m not the world’s best liar. I turned around and grinned at them, just before catching Joel’s eye all Did Ya Hear That?
I love children’s parties. I love all the fun details. The handmade posters Ella sits beside me as I draw. The decorations. The party favours. The dreaming of ideas that will be super fun for kids. I don’t go to these efforts to tick the boxes on my imaginary Good Mum list, because I know that the kids don’t care. This never grants me some kind of parenting badge because you blow up a couple of balloons and shove some cake in their mouth and they’re happy. I go to these efforts for my own, selfish, creative itch that needs scratching. For every Pinterest-slamming meme (it’s funny, I get it), there’s a pom-pom shaking fairy in me that wants to stand in defense of cookie cutters and themed parties and all things glittery because there’s a happy little buzz around these tiny little details that make childhood extra fun for a day. I celebrate mums who want to study Spanish or learn karate or write poetry instead of craft and throw parties, and during the party set-up phase, when I’m sweating and cursing at all the things that can – and often do – go wrong, I wish for a split second I’d taken your route. But then the kids come and the magic happens, and I’m reminded again that it’s just a wonderful thing that we all do whatever it is that makes us happy.
Amen to rainbows and slides and cake and friends.
Sunset is still my favorite color, and rainbow is second. Mattie Stepanek