Seven years ago, I was completely couch-bound and my biggest fear was that my babies would be born so prematurely they wouldn't survive. A close second worry was that as I continued to grow larger, my body would split open.
I worried about how I'd care for three newborns at once. How would I nurse them and hold them or take care of them at night? What if they were all sick at the same time? Would I ever sleep again? How would I be able to chase three toddlers, simultaneously? How could I spend quality time with each to ensure that they all felt like valued members of this family?
While I certainly imagined our triplet children joyously celebrating their birthdays, never once did I contemplate the logistics surrounding those birthday celebrations.
On October 14, the triplets will turn seven. SEVEN! Three weeks from today is the day after October 14. Or, the Saturday that we are planning to host a party for the children's seventh birthday.
These are a few of the things to consider...
Who to invite?
Their first grade glass?
A hand full of close friends, no more than two or three children each?
Where's the party venue?
At a local pumpkin patch where the average ticket price is $15.00/person not including food?
Side Note 1: The cost of celebrating at a local pumpkin patch in San Diego was $5.00/person not including food. Northern Virginia is a very expensive place to live. But the cost still might be worth it since set-up and clean-up is completely handled.
At our house with games and activities scattered around the yard?
Side Note 2: We looked in to renting a pony for a few hours and almost choked when we learned the price to rent a pony for two hours approached the cost of PURCHASING a pony.
The weather has been so volatile and rainy, it's important to have a contingency plan of what to do if all of the festivities have to come "indoors"?
If we have the party at our house, and the weather is nice prompting us to stay outside, the chances are excellent that neighborhood children will KNOW that we are having a party and will either 1) crash it and/or 2) feel very sad that they were not included.
Side Note 3: We've been invited to countless birthday parties over the past year and there's a sensation that we need to reciprocate. Sometimes just the girls are invited to a "girls only" party; or William will be invited to a "boys only" party. But there have been several other times when party host will invite our entire clan - including Henry - because they don't want anyone to feel left out.
Side Note 4: I'm glad that I don't buy in to the hype (much) that surrounds birthday parties. We've been invited to some parties where the attention to detail was greater than what I put in to my wedding. Someone recently told me about a birthday party where the child invited five of her friends and they flew to Disney World for a three-day weekend. Even if we had the money to do something like that ... I can't imagine that we ever would. The mind, it boggles.
Side Note 5: We had parties for the children on their first, second, third and fourth birthdays. On their fifth birthday we took them to Disneyland. On their sixth birthday, they helped us strip wall paper. So I do feel like they're overdue for some kind of celebration since they totally get the concept of birthdays now and are counting down the days. Also, there are three with a birthday on the same day. Maybe I should buy in to the hype a bit more than I do. And maybe I will when my fully functional clone (and Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes check) arrives in the mail.
Side Note 6: Perhaps I should send invitations on behalf of each of the children, as opposed to the three as a group, so the invitee does not feel compelled to buy three separate gifts. Or perhaps I just stick with the theme I adopted at their fourth birthday and tell invitees, "Your presence is our gift, no presents please!" because 1) the time it takes to write thank you notes can be daunting; 2) we honestly have enough stuff and 3) it removes more than one burden (a) financial; (b) what to get? what to get?!) off of people. OR maybe, half of the toys that they receive could be donated to Toys for Tots. Or something charitable.
Side Note 7: Party Favors. Whether we have the party at our house, or offsite, our "party favors" will be a real pumpkin. Am I the only one that is haunted by Goodie Bags? Or rather, those small plastic bags that are filled with candy and cheap trinkets that will be disposed of in less than an hour by the parents when the children aren't looking? Surely I'm not the only parent that is so cruel. Anyone? Anyone?
When I suggested today to our children that they select two friends that they would like to invite to their party; William suggested our 12 and 70-year old neighbors, Elizabeth suggested William's best friend and the most popular girl in school who doesn't know her name, and Carolyn suggested Noni and Jim because they are BRINGING HER NEW DOG.
Seven years later, the children are here and healthy and (for the most part), I'm in one piece. These are truly the important things in life. So I suppose we could just go with their guest list and make a nice cake.
Or rather three nice cakes because everyone wants their own.