Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sam's 6th Birthday Party

Sam's real birthday is November 21st. This year that makes it the day before Thanksgiving. Because of the holiday and our trip to Taos, we decided to have the his birthday party a couple of weeks early.
Sam wanted a baby animal party. He wanted all the kids to bring their favorite stuffed animal and then they could all play with them and he wanted the party at his house. We kicked around ideas and then Michael and I decided to get a traveling animal zoo to come out and bring real live baby animals to our house for the party. Mom offered to pay part of it as her gift. We decided to do this as a surprise to our Sam. I found a company who did this with great reviews and even though they were expensive, booked them. I also added a bubble machine and some amazing animal themed goodie bags to my order. All was set!
Sam was allowed to invite as many kids as he was old along with their siblings and he had no problem choosing. He asked me to make coconut cupcakes (his current favorite flavor) and he asked me for a crown to wear on his birthday. Then he counted down the days. 62 days. 50 days. 34. 22. 12. 6. I checked the weather and it looked like our summer weather was finally coming to an end. A cold front was coming exactly during the party. I called the rain plan and moved the party from our house to my parents. I confirmed with the animal farm and gave them our phone numbers again. I sent a note out to all the guests to arrive on time so that the animal farm could set up secretly out front after the kids had already gone inside.
The day of the party arrived on Sunday. Michael and Davis and I gave Sam his presents.
We gave Sam his very own Kindle Fire. We put "free time" on it to control his content and time and then filled it with audio books, real books, movies and educational games. He loved it! Davis was green with envy. Sam also received a fox marionette from his brother and some Lincoln Logs from his Grandma and Grandpa. He was pleased.
Michael took the kids to church while I went over to my parents' house and set up for the party.
At 2pm the party began. The children arrived looking precious clutching their stuffed animals. I sat down and read aloud Peter Rabbit to all the kids. Then I checked outside. The farm should have already arrived and set up. It was time for some baby animal/bubble fun! No one was there. No one had called. My stomach started to clench with worry. I encouraged the kids to play. I left messages. Then I finally got a call from the owner telling me the driver was lost and to please call her. I asked Michael to help Sam open his presents and went outside to try and direct the zoo to the house. I missed seeing the opening of the presents.
I talked to the driver for 15 minutes before I realized that she wasn't lost in San Marcos. She was lost in Johnson City, over an hour away. She hadn't even entered the correct city in her GPS. There was no way she could get here before the party ended. I can't describe how upset I was. I wanted to cry. The owner called back and wanted to talk to me, but I was done. I didn't want to waste any more time with this failed project. I had already missed half of Sam's party.
So I went inside. We told the kids that the next party activity was to go outside and play. They did. There were some good things that really helped save the situation. One was that the cold front was delayed and the weather was gorgeous outside. Second, the farm was a surprise so Sam was not disappointed. He thought the party was going great. Third, Sam's guests were all the children of my best friends and they were all supportive and kind. Fourth, at least I had the vegan coconut cupcakes and they turned out yummy. We were able to sing happy birthday to the boy and let him blow out the candles.
I did not have goody bags to hand out to the kids. I know they were disappointed. Sam was. I told him that the people who were supposed to bring them got lost and didn't come. He was very understanding.
When four o'clock came Michael and I packed up the food and presents and said goodbye to our friends and had the house cleaned up nice by 4:30 so when my parents got home from the beach at 5 they came home to a clean house. In retrospect I feel like I should have invited my friends to stay longer and spend more time with them, maybe I rushed them out the door, but at the time I just wasn't able to truly let go of the bad and embrace the good. I felt embarrassed about the party. I felt like without the fabulousness of the zoo and bubble machine and goody bags that my party was really lame. I felt that as an event planner I should have done better. As I write all this down, I realize how selfish and self centered those thoughts were. I should have let all that go. I tried to focus on Sam's joy and making sure that everyone felt good and loved and were well served, but I had a really hard time because I had all the yucky stuff inside. Sorry, friends. I'll be a better hostess next time.
I think Sam had a good birthday. And that's what matters. At bedtime I held Sam in his bed and he told me how much he loved his party and his friends and his presents. The animal company called yesterday and apologized and gave me my deposit back and offered me a free zoo in the future. Mom and I are cooking up some fun ideas for his real birthday in Taos. We are moving on. My baby is turning six!

1 comment:

cheris said...

Well, this is what it looked like from the outside: Kids having a complete and total blast, friends chatting, delicious cake and snacks, tons of toy excitement, and your grace under pressure. Oh, and it was a school night, so no one could have stayed later anyway. It was a lovely party. Graham never even mentioned the goodie bags. And that free future petting zoo is going to be sweeeeet. ;)

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