Katie McCarthy: Planning a 1st birthday bash — or not

kmccarthy@ledger-enquirer.comNovember 21, 2013 

I’ve been thinking about my daughter’s first birthday party since shortly after her birth.

What kind of theme? What will she wear? Where do we throw it? How many people?

The past year has been one of many unknowns, and that's not entirely due to the arrival of our little bundle of joy. So with all the potential outcomes, I had to have several flexible ideas for how the first birthday party would happen.

After all that thinking for all that time, now, just a few weeks out, I've done absolutely nothing to prepare.

It totally snuck up on me. Time is a sneaky, sneaky thing when you're a new parent.

I wanted to throw something Pinterest-worthy (the bane of all mothers' existence), so I started scouring the web, looking at themes and trying to devise something cute, but not too cute, and fun, but also different. I came up with about five really solid ideas that would require probably more skill and patience than I have. But I'm ambitious.

Or not.

The more I thought about this grand first birthday bash, the less practical it became.

For starters, the party will be small because most of our family live in Illinois. A few grandparents will make the trek (a mere two weeks before Christmas, when we'll be heading up north, mind you) and a few friends will come, but that's it. I'm not going to spend hours on decor for 10 people (no offense, I love you all).

Also, my daughter's not going to remember any of it. I'd like to save the going-all-out-ness for the years she's going to be able to enjoy it.

After planning my wedding a few years back, I also realized I'm not the most organized event planner. I'm sometimes far too ambitious and have a hard time asking others for help.

There's also the little two-weeks-before-Christmas thing. And, unfortunately, this is going to haunt my poor little one the rest of her life -- luckily, she'll be able to commiserate with her father, who's birthday is two days following the major holiday. Needless to say, it makes for a very busy two weeks during an already very busy two months.

Time, money, patience and sanity are on short supply.

So, in a rare practical move, I've decided to not fret over my daughter's first birthday party.

Don't get me wrong, I still have a theme (just a color scheme, really) and I plan on making an item or two to mark the occasion, but coordinating a menu and favors and decorations? Not this time.

I'll pick up some balloons (she's fascinated by the ones she's seen at the grocery store, so those just might steal the show), put her in a cute outfit and let her destroy the first of many too-expensive birthday cakes and then we'll call it a day.

We'll take pictures, relax and hopefully won't have too much cleanup.

And then I'll start thinking about birthday No. 2.

Katie McCarthy, kmccarthy@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-571-8515.

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