Isabelle and her cousin/BFF, Sarah Elizabeth, specially requested to have a joint party this year to commemorate their seventh birthday. My aunt and I happily obliged as this meant we could share party planning, shopping, organizing, and cooking duties. Not to mention being able to split the cost! We decided to have the party right smack in the middle of their birthdays which also happened to be the week they finished school. This was the first year that Isabelle showed a real interest in the planning of her own birthday party. In the years past, I have worked tirelessly to create the perfect theme, design invitations, and whip up an amazing menu. But at seven years old, my little girl has opinions and ideas all her own and it was so fun to let her take the lead.
The girls decided to have a water slide in our very own back yard and hosted their entire first grade class. Daddy grilled hot dogs and Mama made a butterfly shaped cake out of cupcakes and whipped icing. They requested pink and purple decorations and wanted balloons around each and every corner. We hand made the invitations and let them use their own lovely penmanship they worked so hard to achieve this school year. They didn't want to play any games because, in their own words, "the slide was all the fun we need".
My favorite thing about this entire day was the simplicity of it all. There was no stress, no need for perfection. It's amazing how when you leave a task in the hands of an innocent child, the true meaning and intention is allowed to shine through. Suddenly, the day was not about party favors and location, themes and design. Instead, it focused on the spirit of true celebration, it centered on love and relationships.
I was hesitant at first to have a shared birthday party, worrying that Belle would later regret the decision and want the attention of the day all to herself. But, as so often happens on this journey we call parenthood, my daughter surprised me. The girls embraced the shared spotlight, high-hiving each other while they opened presents and holding hands when they blew out their candles. Their gracious spirits were an inspiration to behold!
Brees slept through most of the party but was awake long enough to get passed from one set of loving arms to another. She watched the children through her curious eyes, soaking in all the excitement and enjoying the giggly sound track filling the air.
After most of our guests departed and only our family were left, their bellies full and their shoulders kissed by the setting sun, Shawn looked at me with a twinkle in his eye. "Get your suit on, Mama. It's been a long week and we've been grown-ups long enough".
And so we spent the rest of our evening, slipping and sliding, laughing 'till we cried, playing with our seven year old baby. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.