It is still difficult to comprehend that this little human has almost 365 days of existence under her belt. (Wait. It's leap year - so technically 366?!?) As a family we've been evolving for the past several years. We have been buying more reusable, earth friendly products. We cloth diaper as much as we can. We recycle. We buy locally. We are participating this year in CSAs - meat, fruit, egg, and vegetables. We "own" part of a cow and will receive raw milk starting next month. We compost. We've started a garden. We are using naturals in our home as much as we can. Plastics are being re-purposed or donated. Wood and glass are replacing them. We love our local organic restaurants and the resources our area has to offer. So far, we're improving.
But, a birthday presents challenges. A birthday calls for a huge celebration! Your gut tells you to buy buy buy! Buy food that isn't healthy. Buy plastic toys that will be played with a handful of times. Buy decorations, invitations, stamps, etc. and use gas to buy, ship, and send. It calls for spending, wasting, and stressing. Ordinarily I would be charging full steam ahead to create an amazingly decorated and executed party. For a one year old.
She's one!! She cares about Mommy, Daddy, and Moo. She cares about friends, hugs, kisses, and giggles. She cares about seeing family that she doesn't see daily and seeing friends that she does. She cares about playing. She cares about kitties. She cares about eating REAL food. She cares about being outside.
I mentally suffered for a few months, considering what I should do about her birthday. Where should we have it? How many should we invite? What was the theme - decorations, favors, food, gifts. Lists began to form first in my mind and next on paper. Each item on the list suddenly had its own list. The tasks mounted. And I began to dread it all.
A few nights ago Andrew and I were talking about the upcoming milestone. I mentioned how I'd rather have a small party with a few friends and family and the ability to focus on seeing my children play and enjoy everyone rather than playing the hostess. As I continued my bleating I heard him sigh.
"If you don't want to do it, then don't."
"But, I have to! I mean, it's her birthday. I want it to be perfect for her."
It was then that I actually HEARD my words. This party was about her. It was about relationships, experiences, and enjoyment. It doesn't matter to her if the affair is catered or if I throw together a fruit bowl. What WILL matter to her now and in the future is that those who love her and who are contributing to her life and her rearing were there - that they toasted her life and her worth.
My lists have now evolved. I will complete the invitations and send them out via email. I will make the small list of gifts I have for her rather than buy her. (I did cave and buy her a specially made wooden toy and a small purse whose pattern bears her name.) There will be no plastic toys, no wasted money on things we'll never use, and no junk (one of Moo's favorite words) to be sent home for others. We will feast on local fruit, cheeses, and freshly made lemonade.
We will have cake.
I will continue to knit the blanket that I hope will become an heirloom for her children. And I will be content knowing that sometimes less really is more.