Back in the day when Brent and I were partially brain-dead and mostly self-centered (read: we didn't want to have any kids, ever), one of the several hundred reasons I gave was because I could not handle little kid birthday parties. I couldn't handle lots of kids in a concentrated area, being loud, and generally kid-like. Nothing but sound logic, right?
Today was Haley's 3rd birthday party - and for the first time, we had her party somewhere other than our home, and actually invited kids rather than just adults we wanted to visit with. Today we got the best of both worlds - good kids, with good friends as parents. I will tell you where we had the party is a great place as far as children's venues. For parties...they could use a little help. But still, I didn't have to clean up afterwards, and there was so much to keep the kids entertained, I wasn't responsible for coming up with games or activities. Win!
We had eight children present including Haley, and two other kids with two moms who didn't speak English tried to join our party a few times. I lost a couple olives from my veggie tray to them, but no harm, no foul. It was simple - the kids ran around and played for an hour. Then they colored and did a craft (for five minutes before they were done with that). We opened presents, had a cupcake, and played some more. I got to sit down for quite a bit of it, and we only had one organizational fatality - when Brent threw away my #3 candle. Thankfully I wasn't having an overly hormonal day, and no tears were shed. Plus, with everything the man has done over the last several months, I can't fault him for making one mistake. God bless him, he is our superman in the flesh. Even if he throws away reusable candles. (This reminds me of when Mom absent-mindedly put the large green number candle in the dishwasher. Remember how we thought it was possessed for leaving green flecks over everything, Mom?)
Haley got lots of cool new loot (and thank you to her cool friends who spoiled her!) and has been playing with everything since awakening from her post-party nap. I don't know how she recovered from the party with a less than two-hour nap. I, for one, could have used at least another two hours of sleep, and I didn't run or play as hard as any of the kids did. Or at all, in fact. But what a day - what a milestone - and what a blessing, seriously, to not be stuck with the mess. I mean, pure genius.
So here we sit, recovered and able to say we survived our first real kid-centered party. My precious baby girl is 3 years old, I have no idea where the time went, and she seems so grown up and sophisticated. She was so tired after her party that she let me cradle her for quite a while. Brent came up to me and asked, "Are you just gonna revel in this for a while?" Yes. Yes I am. Best part of my day. It doesn't seem possible that it was already three years ago when I was doing kangaroo care in the NICU, cradling my not even three pound bundle, and longing for the day when I could see her run in to the room with a big smile on her face and say, "Mommy!" I blinked. And here we are. At that point, and all too soon. I still remember almost every detail of her birth, her NICU stay, and our first few nights at home with her. Then we rode a whirlwind to present day. It doesn't seem possible.
Thankfully Brent and I woke from our no-kids-ever-coma and we've been able to enjoy Haley for the last three years. Now we're adding to the mix with another one who will join us at any point over the next five weeks. (I think I'm the only one who thinks I can make it to 38 or 39 weeks. You watch, though!) We'll be having a few years of kid-centered birthday parties ahead of us. Not only for our girls' birthdays, but for their friends whose parties they may be invited to. I still don't do well with lots of little kids in a concentrated area, especially if they're being loud and generally kid-like. I'll tell you, though, to see Haley soaking up every minute of today was totally worth it. And it will be every time. Absolutely worth it.