I have to be honest, it was touch and go there for a while. There were days where I thought that it just couldn’t (or shouldn’t) be done. There were battle scars, sleepless nights, severe nausea and real tears. But we did it.
We planned and executed a birthday party for our almost 5-year-old Beau.
You laugh…but I am dead serious. This freaking birthday party has had me shaking in my boots for months now.
Nothing in the world gives me more anxiety than hosting a child’s birthday party. Except hosting a holiday party for adults. Or giving a speech in front of a crowd of 8+. Or walking down the aisle at my own wedding. Or ordering a specialty latte in Midtown Manhattan during peak hours. Or the thought of Donald Trump as president. Okay… it is fair to say that lots of things give me anxiety. Lots.
But this birthday party took my anxiety to the next level. Why? I don’t know exactly and I have spent a good chunk of time trying to figure it out…mostly to make sure that it never happens again. Because y’all… it was bad. I could not sleep the night before and I seriously almost threw up before it started. That is ridiculous, right?
I think my anxiety stemmed from 4 major factors:
- I am a “worst case scenario” girl. I have a serious skill in thinking of every possible bad thing that could happen and then focusing on those incessantly. This is not an endearing trait, I assure you. You never overhear people at a party saying, “Gosh I just love hanging out with people who are glass-half empty types. It just lifts me up.” So, while I try to fight this natural tendency, in times of stress, I tend to regress.
- I am sort of a control freak. When things are outside of my control, I get super nervous. Planning a birthday party with lots of moving parts, in China, at a location that I had never been to before (FYI: a ski resort about an hour away from Beijing!)…Holy shit…no control. None.
- The Pinterest Effect. Damn Pinterest and all their perfect images of beautifully planned children’s parties. It has ruined children’s birthday parties forever. You can no longer just order a sheet cake from your local grocery store and call it a day. Oh no. You have to have a theme. And games. And thoughtfully planned gift bags. Or at least that is what Pinterest would lead you to believe. One thing is for certain, I did too much research online before planning this party. While everything I found was awesome, most of it was completely over the top. Like this Wild Kratts party where they hired real live exotic animals for the kids to hold and pet. Seriously? My party anxiety went through the roof after that little discovery. And while I know in my head that 5 year olds don’t REALLY care about the decorations at their birthday parties, the Pinterest Effect had me convinced that Beau would wind up an incarcerated degenerate if I didn’t have theme-appropriate water bottle labels. Not rational. I know. But Pinterest is seriously more powerful than ISIS. Don’t underestimate it.
- I genuinely wanted to make sure Beau had an amazing day. I know he is only 5, but the flip side of that is that HE IS FIVE! This might be one of his first memories. I wanted create the best day for him. Parents are crazy like that. We will voluntarily put ourselves through an enormous amount of pain just to watch our kids smile. It is such a weakness.
Yes…I am very aware that most of the party pressure was self-imposed. Doesn’t matter. I felt it. It was real, yo.
But despite this overwhelming anxiety that rode shotgun with me all damn day long, we survived. I say we because, while Brado was not nervous at all, he had to put up with me. I’ll admit it…that was definitely the harder job.
It wasn’t perfect but it was epic. Even Brado admitted (after the fact, of course) that taking 12 children and 13 adults to a ski resort for the day was ambitious. Like…real ambitious. But we did it. I think I even managed to enjoy myself for about 20 minutes.
You know what I enjoyed even more? The hour long full-body massage that I got the very next day. That shit was amazing. And so very necessary.
Below are some photos of the day; proof that we are certifiably crazy and that, once upon a time, we went to the ends of the earth to make our little Beau smile.
A thousand and one thanks to the wonderful people who joined us on our adventure and helped make Beau’s day extra special! You all are patient, understanding, reassuring and oh so helpful! We love ya!