For us, July is a month-long celebration of birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and everything in between. 3/5 of us, plus other close family members, all observe another click around the sun, and this year, we celebrated our 15thwedding anniversary. It’s a very expensive month for the Swede.
Over 2020, all the girls’ birthday parties were cancelled due to corona. We had the option to host things outside but decided to err on the side of caution. They were all very understanding, but as 2021 rolled in and corona remained, things were getting tetchy.
“Well, I’m 7-and-a-half and I still haven’t had my 6th birthday party,” was the leitmotiv of Marigold, especially after being asked to empty the dishwasher. There were daily reminders; Tristan chord tensions were palpable.
We put things off. We waited. We gave hopeful, yet vague and non-commital answers to questions that would arise. Would we go ahead with mad party planning for 2021? Or postpone until 2027? Corona numbers went up, went down; promises of a vaccine were made. Although they say, after every winter comes spring, Jesus, this winter seems to be going on forever.
Considering most party guests would be friends from the village or schoolmates, and with pressure mounting, we decided to greenlight three outdoor parties. But, prestissimo they would need to take place before the end of the school term. The screams of joy could be heard all over. Both from the kids, and the parents who would need to arrange and host them.
Enter the mad hatter. The mad hatter of event planners, sending off invites and tracking which kid was coming, which had allergies, which age-appropriate games would be played. We had all the spirit, but none of the sense. We’d left it to the very last minute, so every minute mattered.
Another pearl of decision-making from the parents, just to add to the excitement, at the exact same time, we decided to commence The Great Room Swap, moving and switching bedrooms for all. There were deconstructed beds a glory, spanners and hammers all over the floor, boxes of clothing for charity mixing with the ring of the doorbell as someone came to pick up the spare furniture we were selling. Bedlem for the bedrooms.
Add in two parents working full-time, we took a decision that we have never taken before. We would keep things simple and outsource the birthday cakes.
Catering for multiple allergies from multiple kids, with a kitchen hardly accessible due to boxes and half a bunk bed, we ordered two cakes from our local vegan chocolaterie, Green Praline. More sparking of joy from the girls and the Swede who wouldn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to make a sponge. The third ‘cake’ turned out to be a doughnut and ice-cream buffet for the tweens; a tip from our neighbour and a great success.
So, on consecutive weekends, we prayed for sunshine and hosted three large parties for children ages 6-11. I took the back-end role of Snr Logistics Manager, whilst the Swede (and Théolinda) took the role of Master of Ceremonies, the front of house who kept everyone entertained and smiles on all our faces.
We pulled it off, and no one came down with the plague. Everyone was happy. At the end of the third consecutive party, exhausted, we flopped into our new bedroom, which low-and-behold, has the best view in the house.
More to come.
Comments more than welcome below!