Saturday, June 4, 2011

Blog Bits

There are those little nudges.  Like those I blogged about previously, "Turtles and Roses".  Had another of those, curiously flower related.

My grandmother had a desk in her home beneath the front window.  Atop the scratched and water stained desk perched plants.  She could grow anything.  She chose to always grow African violets.  The most stubborn, often unblooming, fat leafed houseplant God ever made.  When flowering they are stunning with a deep purple or delicate pink or a variation of the two.  Upon her death, my mother was nurturing two African violets in her home too.

This weekend I had the opportunity to speak at church for the first time.  To encourage and celebrate, my newest friend gave me a purple gift bag.  As I knew it would make me cry, I waited to look inside until I was done sharing with everyone and it was time to leave.  Inside was an African violet.  Of all the flowers, in all the shops, she chose that one.  Nudge.

I have a friend who plans large scale community/art/fundraisers for hundreds of people with barely a whiff of anxiety.  However, ask her to plan a party for one of her amazing children and she freezes like a Popsicle.  What is it about planning parties for our children that makes even the bravest mommies shudder?  Why do we spend far more than we should on themes, prizes and games for events only passing in their memories?

For the first time today I attended a party for a child and a family I didn't know.  The guest of honor was a little girl who plays with my son everyday at preschool/daycare.  When her mommy asked her who she wanted to come to her party, she answered "Keegan" (this is how she pronounces my Caden's name).  I got a little note in his cubby, rsvp'd and we were off!  When I talked to her Mom, she said it would be a small gathering of little ones, with my son and two others.  They would do crafts, make some pizza and do some other kid stuff.

When I arrived, my heart sunk.  In the driveway was "The Hummer".  "The Hummer" is driven by a Mommy who is friends with a group of Mommies who ignore my cheerful,  "Good mornings!".  As they drop off their little darlings at the same preschool/daycare they don't acknowledge my presence for their morning, obnoxious SUV side, coffee klatches.  I'm either not good enough or they are better than me.  However, in my newly (and hard fought for) emotionally self actualized state, I walk on by.  Today for the party I had to walk on in.  Damn.

The small fete turned out to be 12 kids and mommies and daddies and aunties.  It was chaos and confusion.  They didn't recognize me out of my morning uniform of ponytail and whatever is clean and laying at hand.  I wisely chose a matching and preppy ensemble.  No make up though, darnit.  The Birthday Mommy kept snipping at her husband and wondering aloud, often to no one, if everyone was having fun.  She was a wreck.  So much so, as I left and her husband thanked me for coming.  I told him, "It was perfect.  And when she calms down please tell her it was perfect too."

What was memorable to this mama was how little the parties these days are about the kids.  It's about the show for friends and families.  It's about comparing and trying to better their peers.  It's all about icing-sweet nothingness that will last but a moment.  I know as I have been a Mommy who threw those kind of parties.

Makes me rethink the upcoming plans for my little guys.  Whilst I was in the Hummer/Mommy/Birthday Vortex, I actually considered contracting with my friends who do entertainment for a living.  I thought of turning my back yard into a child's paradise carnival.  Then I took a breath and reconsidered.  I will be about building memories for my sons.  Memories with friends they love and choose to spend time with.

What the other mommies think don't get to be part of the equation.  And the next morning, when their crowd ignores me by "The Hummer" I'll remember it wasn't my kid who jumped in the wading pool fully dressed or who threw a tantrum because the cupcake was pink or hid behind his mother or tackled kids out of the way of the pinata candy.  It was their perfect little darlings who did that.  Cue the gloating.  (In the interest of full disclosure it was my little darling who burped louder than a Longshoreman at the bar on leave.  But, hey, better out than in, right?)

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