my daughter's 9th birthday is just a few weeks away. n i n e.
she got busy planning her birthday party approximately 355 days ago, wasting no time as i cleaned up the streamers and confetti from her 8th birthday party.
this year, she declared her wish for "a swimming sleepover party."
a swimming party? in january, ma'am? and a sleepover? as in- other little girls spending the night with us, without their parents? is this a 9 year old thing? is that what we do now? sleep overs? are we ready for that? are we?! *shudder*
i thought it over and suggested a few other (simpler) party ideas, and she is so easy-going and would be happy with any sort of celebration. but, i do love birthdays and party planning and granting my daughter's extravagant wishes on our special day. so, a swimming sleepover party it will be.
when i plan her parties, i like to have a theme or color-scheme to work with. i plan the party around the theme, challenging myself to do without pre-packaged theme party supplies and also without duplicating too many Pinterest ideas. her first birthday party was "Under The Sea," her second party was "Zoo," her third birthday party was "Princesses" at the Little Gym, when she turned 4 she had a dance party at Baby Loves Disco, her 5th birthday party was roller skating, her 6th birthday party was a "sweet" surprise party with a candy bar, her 7th birthday party was a "Cooking" party, and her 8th birthday party was a "Winter Wonderland" theme. i also typically take care of most of the party planning and prepwork on my own, not letting her in on most of the details, so there's an element of surprise for her on party day.
this year, she has joined me in the party planning excitement and wants to be involved, and i'm happy to let her. i let her take the reigns a little bit and what we've come up with is a bit of a mish-mash of several different themes and interests. she wants to combine them all, somehow. and if i'm honest, it's kinda making my skin itchy. let me just tell you, there is nothing on Pinterest for a "dress to the nines" / spa / sleepover / American Girl / swimming party theme. FYI.
what color should the plates and napkins be? what in the world kind of cupcakes will i order? what about party favors? goggles for swimming or face masks for spa? what kind of party IS THIS!?
but... sitting there on the floor of my closet with her, watching her sort the nail polishes and candy into neat piles for the party favor bags (personalized pillow cases), carefully, thoughtfully considering her friends' personalities, which friend would like purple best and which friend doesn't like chocolate...i suddenly didn't care about the mish-mash party theme. this is my girl. she is turning 9. she has 6 friends, and they are precious to her. she is planning her birthday party with the things that she loves, for the people she loves.
i figured it out. my daughter's 9th birthday party does have a theme: it's love and joy and celebration and fun. it's perfectly HER.
she has customized this party to her current interests and hobbies, combining all her favorite things. it seemed haphazard to me, her mish-mash party planning. but really, it's very well thought-out. it's incredibly sweet, special, completely custom, and 100 times better than any party theme i could have come up with on my own. she said to get pink and blue napkins, so i did. this year, i am the one who is surprised. caught off-guard by this little girl with such a big heart, fun ideas, and her mama's knack for planning a great birthday party.