Jack was born in the summer. By default, our summer travel routine and the vacation plans of most of his classmates made most of his birthday celebrations quite a bit smaller and tamer than the circus-like orgies of cake and presents that are depicted as normal and desirable in movies or ads. His birthdays are often spent with family doing something special at the beach or going to a favorite museum.
We knew that six-year-old Thing2’s October birthday made the more traditional kid birthday party more likely. He’s seven today, and we planned his birthday over the weekend. Watching Jack’s interest in traditional kid birthday parties (even when we offered) begin to fade when he was around nine, I know there won’t be many of these left.
Thing2, the Big Guy and I decided he should invite his classmates, and a few weeks ago, I filled his backpack with his homework, lunch, and seventeen invitations. Knowing that not everyone RSVPs for kids’ parties, the Big Guy and I got the house ready for a halloween-themed party on Columbus Day Weekend.
Three kids and their moms showed up.
At first I was a little nervous about Thing2’s reaction to the dearth of kids (and presents, of course), but he didn’t seem to notice. For two hours, the kids cavorted in the sun and the leaves for two hours. They beat apart and divided the treasure from a piñata filled with candy for 16 kids. There was no pin-the-tail on the donkey or other party games. Instead, they screamed and laughed as they chased each other through and around the house. The Big Guy in his Herman Munster costume and I as Lily Munster sat at the table with the three other moms getting to know each other a little better than we do at the bus stop.
Thirteen-year-old Jack’s own memories of these few traditional kid parties are often impressions of sunny days, the details blurred by distance. I know this day will blend into the collection of parties we’ve thrown for Thing2 as well. But I’m hoping that his memory is marking that, while a larger party would have been fun too, sometimes less really is more.