Thursday, April 1, 2010

Make it Personal

Have you ever read the book Wemberly Worried? It's a children's book by Kevin Henkes about a little mouse girl who worries about every single thing: "Big things, little things, and things in between."

Well, when it comes to party planning, I am Wemberly in adult human form. I worry about the big stuff--the food and the guest list and the decorations--and the little stuff--like my apron and what kind of napkins to use and whether or not the dishwasher is empty--and all the things in between--like if my kitchen floor and bathrooms get cleaned ahead of time and what kind of music to have playing while we eat. I guess you could say I have a love-hate feeling for party-planning. I love doing it, yet I hate what it does to me. All that worrying puts my head in a fog and I often come away feeling disappointed in myself.  But over the past couple years of planning parties on my own and with friends, I have learned that one of the most important elements to a successful party is personalization. This makes all the difference.

Over the last couple years, a few of my friends have gone out of their way to present me with very personalized gifts and celebrations for my birthday and I can't tell you how wonderful it makes me feel. For example, there is something simply wonderful about sitting in a chair that was painted just for me. :) And that is just one of many gifts that fill my rooms to remind me of the people who love me.

Last week was my Dad's 50th birthday and I was so excited (and worried) about planning a big birthday bash and getting him an awesome gift. But he requested something small (and would have preferred nothing at all) and everything I inquired about for a gift he really wasn't interested in. So, we planned something personal, just the way he wanted it. And you know what, it was simple and perfect. We ordered his favorite pizza, had only our family, and made him one very personal gift. He loved it. I didn't worry (too much) and everyone enjoyed themselves. One of the best parts was an unplanned dance party requested by my three-year-old daughter. What grandfather could resist his granddaughter asking for a dance?

He had the two cutest helpers to blow out his candles. :)

Since he turned the big 5-0, for his gift we compiled a list of fifty things we love about him and had it printed out to place in a frame with a mat decorated in watercolor art done by his three granddaughters. Needless to say, he loved it and even got choked up as my sister read it aloud for the whole family to hear. I think he felt special on his special day. And that was the most important thing.

 I will never forget how much I worried about my oldest daughter's first birthday party. We had never planned a party like that before and wanted so badly for it to be perfect.  Some people thought we were silly to do so much for a birthday party that she would never remember. But you know what, we remember. We remember what a challenge and joy it was to be first-time parents and all of the memories we shared during that time with our family and friends. Having them all together to celebrate was the perfect way to recognize what a special time it was for all of us.

If it's a party with a purpose or a party just-because, the outcome is the best when you have the people there who you want to share it with. So no matter how much you worry or plan, sometimes it's simply the people who make it the most personal, and you don't have to do anything except invite them.

1 comment:

  1. I am so happy that the chair makes you feel wonderful. Is that the orange dresser in the background? It looks like it turned out great.