“If I don’t get a birthday present can I have a party?” ask the 10-year-old, her big brown eyes pleading from behind her white rimmed glasses.
How exactly does one say no to such a plea? One doesn’t.
Let the planning ensue. Pintrest and I made merry work of pinning ideas. Fall Carnival was the theme and ideas were plentiful. Too plentiful. A few hundred post onto the “IT’S HER BIRTHDAY” board and I started to get that eye twitch that happens just before I experience a total and complete shut down. Too. Many. Ideas. Can’t stop Pinning. Must Stop.
ERRRRR….I had to stop the madness. So I did. At a softball tournament I had a friend who knows all too well my penchant for going overboard listen to my woes. She was laughing. “STOP!” she begged after my explanation of the festival games I had planned for the back yard–if only I could add that porch and get landscaping done prior to, the description of the Halloween themed decorations I planned to make–all by hand of course and the gazillion ideas I had for food. In stopping I went on to tell her about my exploits as TEAM MOM for the girls softball team. Somewhere in the midst of my rambling the 2 thoughts merged (imagine) and an idea was born.
Instant relief. No more fall festival/Halloween madness/idea overload. My epiphany softball party. Easy, peesy.
One quick call and I had a softball field and a pavilion for 2 hours. DONE.
Next, Invitations. In my mind I pictured each girl getting a bright, neon yellow softball with the details of the party written on the ball. The cute ball would go into a white box, tie the whole thing up with a jaunty bow and hand deliver the adorable package. I was giddy with my brilliant idea. Until I priced softballs. Good lord. The adorable, clever invitation idea cost more than the field and the pavilion. Back to the proverbial drawing board I went. Ahh…a ticket. A sporting ticket. One idea led to another and the invitation was born. It morphed from a ticket into a ticket/VIP pass complete with lamentation and a cord just like the backstage passes I had hanging on the coat rack. Cheaper than the softballs but equally as cute.
The decorations ideas flourished but time didn’t. I got one pumpkin painted in softball yellow. I did not get the Birthday- Banner- from- individual-action- shots- of- each- invitee done. Nor did I get to the burlap banner with each girls number that I had planned to hang from the rafters. The candy bar didn’t materialize nor did the cake made to resemble a softball jersey get baked or decorated. I didn’t create individual ‘at bat’ music for each girl. I didn’t make hand-made score cards for each dug-out. I didn’t make candy popcorn on yellow and red nor did I make t-shirts for all the players parents to wear proclaiming, “FORGET THE THUNDER–FEAR THE MOMS!” (A play on the shirt I had made that said, “Forget the Lightning, Fear the Thunder” (the team name) at the start of the season. Those SOFTBALL mom poems didn’t get printed. The round balls designed to fill with goody-bag loot didn’t get stuffed…in fact, goody bag treats didn’t get purchased. And you know what…it turned out okay despite all that I DIDN’T do. Imagine.
I did get Cracker-Jacks and sunflower seed packs for the table. The yellow cupcakes were adorable adorned with a yellow gum-ball. The cotton candy on the table was a BIG hit and the 1000 pieces of bubble gum strewn across the table was quite festive and filled up the table quite nicely. The bottles of root-beers had child and parents giggling. The red bucket my friend bought to hold the drinks was perfect. Saturday I had spent hours making caramel apples that I then dipped in chocolate, rolled in candy and tied with UNCOORDINATING ribbons, Yes. I used orange/black sticks (purchased during fall-festival-idea-frenzy) and tied with green-pink-curling ribbon because it was all I had. Not a single person made fun on the lack of coordination. Not one.
The parents arrived early and took to the field to ‘warm-up”. Mothers tossing to mothers, dads throwing to one another, siblings running after loose balls and the actual softball players giggling while they took turns pitching back and forth. People were actually smiling. They were laughing. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. Seriously. It was infectious too. Soon I forgot to be wadded up and nervous. I think I actually laughed and smiled…more then once.
Daughters smacked talked moms as they took the plate. Dads choked up and then cranked balls out to center field. Brothers chased balls and made valiant attempts to make outs. It was sunny and 65 degrees. No one was in a hurry. We were all present and engaged with our girls and with one another. There was laughter, there were smiles. There was happiness.
After the game with appropriately ended in a tie, we moved to the pavilion where I didn’t hang my yellow and red pom-poms. We handed out cupcakes over the 4X6 action shots of each girl (leftover from the birthday banner that didn’t get done) Parents sat in groups and visited while the team of girls sat together, all of them, and munched on cotton candy, ignored the candy apples and popped a top their bottles of BEER giggling and chatting all the while. Things moved organically. I didn’t orchestrate a single, solitary thing. I let it BE!
It was a perfect few hours on a GRAND day. My now 11-year-old was overjoyed with her party. The moms and dads were appreciative. The girls all left saying how much fun they had.
My girl got her party and I got to give it to her…and enjoy it myself. It was a day to remember.