celebreality monday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TODD VAN VOORST, the apple of my eye, the love of my life, the provider of my food, my baby daddy. 

it is a shame that we are not more birthday-centric.  i see families making a big deal out of birthdays, and i consistently wish we were (or more specifically, i was) more like that.  i mean, in all honesty, how can i not be so profoundly grateful that the people i love were born however many years ago (ahem, thirty-three in todd's case) that i go all-out hog-wild on their birthdays?  and don't get me wrong - i am deeply grateful for their births and their presence in my life.  but i am not a party kind of gal.  or a presents kind of gal.  and not because i don't wish desperately that i was, but because i am a 'just get through today and worry about tomorrow tomorrow' kind of gal.  which means i suck at forward planning, which is a necessary component of party planning and the getting of perfect presents.

just look up 'carnival party' on pinterest, for example.  what planning!  i would love to give my husband a ticket booth and games and a hot dog vendor and a moon bounce for his birthday.  but then i'm all like, who do i even call to arrange for a ferris wheel?  and then i give up and make a cake from a box and buy him another book or another translation of the bible.

and i feel guilty about that.  because first of all, he deserves better than that - though delicious, funfetti cake doesn't really capture how grateful i truly am that he is in my life.  second of all, i should know him well enough to be able to think of just one more-than-slightly-personal gift... 

and third of all, the one that makes this my celebreality/i-suck-at-this-mom-thing post, there are tons of wives and moms who are great at this.  and they're out on the internet in droves.  they're all, sure i have seven kids and i homeschool and i blog full-time and i have an immaculate and beautifully decorated house and also i plan extravagant, memorable parties and i handcraft all my children's gifts.  and i don't think all of these moms are faking it to boost their blog readership: i think a lot of them are actually skilled at this and truly enjoy it.  and i think that's the thing that makes me feel the most guilty: i don't enjoy throwing parties and buying perfect presents, i just wish i was a person who enjoyed those things.

but then birthdays come around and i pretend for about 20 seconds that this year i will be that mom who's able to balance real life and also a budget and also fill thirty-five favor boxes with things found in the dollar section at target that are miraculously not tacky and perfectly appropriate for the theme of the party.  but then the sugar high wears off and i realize that i'm so far from being that mom my kids are lucky if i write in their birthday card (penelope's one-year birthday card is still sitting in my organizing drawer, waiting to be acknowledged).

and am i screwing my family out of memories or the reassurance that they're truly loved and appreciated?  in all honesty, maybe i am.  but a lot of the time (not all, but a lot) i think the guilt i feel has less to do with how i'm communicating love to my family and more to do with how i measure up to other moms who are doing it way better than i am.  and a little of the guilt is really only jealousy that they get to post their beautiful pictures for all the world to ogle at, and also they get to jump on their own moon bounce.

but unless one of my kids turns out to possess the love language of high-falutin' parties and they need their 'love tank' filled in that way (gary chapman's words, not mine) i can be okay with showing my family love and appreciation in the ways i'm specially wired to be able to do... whatever those are.  and i can let go of how ironic i find it that god in all his humor did NOT make me 'paige, planner of parties and purchaser of perfect presents.'  the alliteration and truthfulness of it all would knock the wind out of 50% of people, i'm sure.

so i do my best for birthdays around here: i bake something special.  i invite family over for our kids' parties.  we have our own special little traditions, like carving pumpkins for todd's birthday.  and i try to let go of my feeling of failure for not being Carnival Party Mom.

because, i'll just say it, i suck at being a birthday mom.  and as long as my family is okay with it, i have to be okay with it.

**just a note: tomorrow is the last day to cast your prediction of New Kid on the Block's gender.  we'll announce the ultrasound results and the winner of the mystery prize on wednesday.


Anonymous said...

I think we are the same person. I am not good at party planning at all. My kids get a small family party that includes no decorations, a birthday candle, a boxed cake, and that is about it. I love them to death and am happy that they are growing and getting older but geesh, I can't put the great-party-I-have-planned-in-my-head in motion. I suck. And it's okay and Garrett just reminds me that they are too young to remember them anyway and once they are older we will plan parties (maybe).

The Crislers said...

I'm terrible about birthdays, too! For whatever reason, birthdays give me zero creative inspiration, so when I go online to copy someone else's creative genius, I get all overwhelmed by what looks like weeks of work and hundreds of dollars worth of props. No thanks.