I love planning birthday parties. From the moment my firstborn was six months old, I enrolled in cake decorating classes so I could make fun cakes once a year (and later, twice a year). I have the most fun creating a party around a theme, usually doing so the home-made way. We’ve had butterfly themes where we actually released live butterflies into the air at the end of the party (yes, they ship butterflies for this!), flamingo parties to satisfy my youngest’s obsession with the bird, and kite flying celebrations – perfect for a May birthday in China.
It’s that time of year again, and we just celebrated my little one’s 8th birthday with a Backwards Birthday Party. I’ve been eager to try out this theme for several years; only recently did I think all of the kids would “get it” enough to enjoy it.
Almost everything went as we planned, from the invitations printed in mirror image on a computer to guests wearing clothes backwards. We greeted friends with a “Goodbye, thanks for coming!” and a goody bag which was filled with non-birthday items (Christmas candy, CNY hong baos, filled Easter eggs, etc.). Ava loved opening presents first, followed by eating the upside down 3-tiered cake I made (wishing with all my might that gravity wouldn’t prevail). Everyone ate underneath the table; chairs were on top. Games were all backwards, twisted or reversed, and the group party picture was of their backs…heads turned toward the camera, of course. Lots of craziness and fun ensued, and as the guests left they were sent away with a “Hello, welcome to my party!”
I feel like I’m reliving my childhood through my girls’ parties, and I have a blast doing so. Their themes are always creative, and they are actively involved in the details. After this party, I recalled the things we didn’t do – because we forgot or just ran out of time. It didn’t matter that I forgot the magic candle or that we didn’t do the coloring-outside-of-the-lines activity. It didn’t matter that we didn’t have a room full of upside down balloons and streamers on the floor. What mattered was that the 20 little girls there (yes, 20) had fun. It wasn’t “perfect” but it was perfect for Ava. I believe that she’ll remember her birthday parties with fond memories.
My oldest daughter turns 10 in August and she’s already trying to decide on her theme. At the moment, it’s “Peace” with all the symbols that go with it. I’m sure it’ll change many times until then, but I’m already thinking about the cake…