My littlest darling had his first birthday party on Saturday. Yes, you read that correctly...Baby A is a whole year old already. I suppose it would be clichéd to say that I can't believe how fast time has gone by and that it seems like he was just born a few days ago, but the truth of the matter is, I have no idea where this past year went.
We do first birthdays big in our family. Not like invite-your-whole-neighborhood-or-church-directory-over kind of big, but grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins kind of big, which is still plenty big enough for me. And, since I tend to be a bit of an artistic perfectionist, this also means that I spend quite a bit of time trying to pull together the "perfect" theme, menu, and decorations for the "perfect" first birthday party.
One-year-olds, after all, are very particular about their birthdays.
After nailing down a sweet alligator theme, I did what any 21st century mom trying to plan the "perfect" party would do:
I went to Pinterest and scrounged up every last alligator, swamp, and bayou party pin that I could find.
And you know what I found?
On every pin, every website, and every party blog I visited, I saw a whole lot of ideas, a whole lot of 'must-haves' and 'must-dos', and a whole lot of seemingly unattainable perfection.
And yet, I had to try:
Now that you've seen the pictures, let me describe for you what the pictures don't show:
On the day of this party, I forgot to take a shower. Seriously. It was on my mental to-do list, and I just kind of got all frantic while I was running out of time, and it didn't cross my mind again until the first guests walked in the door. So...no much-needed shower, no make-up, and no fresh change of clothes. Whoops!
I forgot to get two of my kids up from their naps. As the guests arrived, I was running upstairs to wake them, which is when I realized that my two-year-old was still in his pajamas and had a terribly stinky diaper. Yes, the hostess was wiping poo off a heiny instead of welcoming guests.
Even though my hubby spent a few hours plowing snow beforehand, my sister's van got stuck at the bottom of the driveway, and there was a heap of commotion as men went flying to dig them out. There was a repeat performance of this scene at the conclusion of the party.
I forgot to make my punch (or put anything out to drink at all) until about an hour into the party.
I forgot to buy cups. I had to dig through my pantry to come up with a stack of *bright blue* plastic Solo cups, which did not in any way match my theme. Perfectionist failure.
I baked a whole bunch of adorable alligator cookies a few days before the party, but stupidly saved the frosting of them for the day of the party. Know how many actually got frosted? Six. That cute little plate of cookies in the top picture? Yep, that was all of 'em.
I planned ahead and baked and decorated the cakes the day before, putting them down in the freezer for the night. Good plan, right? Except that I forgot all about them for an entire day, until mid-way through the party, when I freaked out and went running for those solid-as-a-rock edible alligators. (If this ever happens to you, placing the cakes over a bowl of hot water eventually does the trick without melting your frosting).
I couldn't find the charger to my camcorder, which I discovered was completely dead just as our baby started opening up his presents, so I couldn't add to his "baby's first year" tape like I've done with all his siblings. So sad.
See? Pictures don't tell it all. They certainly don't describe the quizzical look I got from my dad when he walked in on his greasy-haired, un-make-upped and frazzled daughter taking pictures of a table while everyone was gathered in the other room. It is a bit ridiculous, I suppose, when you have a houseful of people, to be worried so much about pictures of food. And yet, I couldn't help myself.
Perfection is an awful lot to live up to (and maybe even more so for a slightly OCD perfectionist), but I did give it my best shot, and I think I pulled together a really cute little alligator party for my baby alligator. But there was no perfection here, I promise.
In fact, outside of Christ himself, there is no such thing as perfection. Behind every "perfect" picture or "perfect" idea or "perfect" appearance or "perfect" job or "perfect" life or relationship, there are just regular people like you and me with mile-long lists of failures and hundreds of untold stories of imperfection.
There is no such thing as Pinterest Perfection.
This little guy, I have to say though, is about as perfect as it gets.
Happy first birthday, little love.