So, after two party posts recounting every detail of the latest party at my house, I feel compelled to write the other side of it all and some of the misgivings in my own heart as it relates to parties. Here goes nothing.
I love throwing birthday parties for my girls (and look forward to hopefully doing it for our boys too!). I feel gifted in this area. I revel in the little details, and my brain whirs with new possibilities to match the theme and spins ideas around almost frenetically. I explained it to someone this way, "I think in craft." Which means that when I have a cute theme, a little cash and a fair amount of time, the sky is the limit on party mayhem. I often start months in advance, because I have realized that to be able to execute the details, I need to space them out - especially anything I plan to make myself.
And, I have to make choices about what to do. Last week, as I was preparing for the party, I really didn't do laundry or clean our house. That meant a lot of catching up yesterday, but that is the give and take. During the holiday season when we were hosting quite a bit, I hired someone to clean my house, because I knew that I would not be able to do everything. And to be really honest, there are places in my house that have not been cleaned since that house cleaner came in December, because I have made choices to do other stuff - like make sugar cookies. I let things slide in order to do other things.
I also had a lot of help with this particular party. John was a life-saver. He made horse shoe rings, runs to the store and he set up all the outdoor stuff the day of the event. He was also really gracious about all the time I spent doing party stuff. My family was also a big help on the day of. I had a few gals I know help me with party stuff ahead of time. One of them cut out all of the printable stuff, which was a huge help, and then both girls came over on Wednesday to help make some of the treats.
So, it takes a lot of time and energy and help to do a party. But, I do believe it is largely a labor of love. I get to make my child feel special by creating an event where her friends and family can come and celebrate her life. Lily loved helping to do stuff for her party, and I could tell that it mattered to her that I would spend time doing stuff for her horse party. She felt cherished.
That said, I am not sure where it crosses the line from a labor of love to the art of showing off. See how good I am at this? See how many things I can pull together? See how beautiful the whole effect can be? I would be lying to say that I didn't want it all to look good and be as close to perfect as I can imagine it, even when my four year old may not notice or necessarily care. I have always had these perfectionistic tendencies, and I like for people to think that I am great at stuff. Who doesn't like that?
One of my biggest areas of struggle is thinking that I am a big deal and hoping that other people think that too. (I know I am not really a big deal at all.) I spend far too much time thinking of myself, and I find myself needing to repent of this repeatedly. I am asking the Lord to continually work more of himself in me and less of me.
More of him, less of me.
I want my life to mirror his image and not my own. I want to make his name bigger - not my own. That is what is real inside my heart, but it can get clouded so easily and often does.
I plan big parties and then blog about them, because I love doing it. I really do. That is not for everyone. In fact, I would go as far as to venture that it is not for most people. So - I wanted to spill the real deal on how parties go down around here. I don't want it to look like I am doing everything - I assure you - I am not. I don't want to contribute to other women feeling like they can never measure up. I don't measure up - none of us ever does when held against the Law. Thankfully, we are held up in God's grace and love. That is where I want to be, party-planning or not.