A Simple Small Birthday Party

I have nightmares when it comes to hosting parties. I fear that no one will show up. The only party I held with confidence was my wedding. 

A Simple Small BirthdayWhere does this fear come from? Experience. Simple as that. As a small child, I had no issues with friends coming to my parties. I didn’t have big parties, as a rule, and usually could count on the one or two friends to help me celebrate my birthday. But, as I got older, my confidence waned. I was not popular in high school, although I was known. For some reason, I fixated on the idea of a Sweet Sixteen party. I invited lots of people from school, then found myself crushed when only 3 or 4 people showed up. I cried myself to sleep that night. When I went to school the following Monday, I felt embarrassed that I should even dream that people would come celebrate my birthday with me. What the heck was I thinking? 

My party (bad) luck didn’t end there. I held open houses at new apartments, encouraged by co-workers who never bothered to show up. I would ask people to come hang out and they wouldn’t. I felt like a social pariah. 

A Simple Small Birthday
We had a bit of a Dr. Seuss theme! I love seeing her tongue sticking out in anticipation of eating her cake.

So, when it came time to plan my daughter Ginny’s fourth birthday party, the fears came back. It would be Ginny’s first party with friends. How would she feel if no one came to her party? 

We didn’t invite many people. She only has four other kids in her preschool class and that’s all we invited. I didn’t count on a large party, but figured at least one friend would be there. And, that would be fine. No high expectations here. Just a simple small birthday party at our local park. 

A Simple Small Birthday
Pretending to blow out the candles!

Unfortunately, life happened and plans had to change. Ginny’s party was planned for the Saturday before her birthday. A week before the party, the stomach flu ran through our home starting with Grace. As the party neared and not all of us were healthy yet, we decided it best to postpone the party a week. 

Once we postponed the party and new invitations went out, the RSVPs slowly trickled in with bad news. None of her friends would be able to go to the party. Not a single one. The only person who RSVPed yes was her preschool teacher. (Thanks, Mrs. K!)

A Simple Small Birthday
She loves chocolate!!

All my fears and feelings of crushing disappointment came back in a rush. Her party would be ruined. I felt like I failed my daughter. In a desperate move, I got on Facebook and asked if any other local friends would want to come so Ginny would have someone there. (And, to be clear, it wasn’t that I didn’t think about inviting these people originally, but decided to limit it to just her preschool friends.) 

A Simple Small BirthdayI’m thankful that I have some good friends and know people who were willing to help out in a pinch. Ginny’s party didn’t suddenly have an influx of kids. Three adult friends and one other child came. My happy, free-spirited daughter was just happy to have people at her party, and she was especially pleased to see Mrs. K. 

A Simple Small Birthday
Even Grace joined in the fun. She’s our fearless child!

While the party didn’t go as planned, Ginny had fun playing with her little sister and best friend, Grace, on the playground as well as the other little girl who came. She loved eating cake and even humored us all by pretending to blow out the candles we couldn’t keep lit due to the wind. 

A Simple Small BirthdayIn the end, I think I learned something from my four-year-old. It’s better to enjoy what you have than to worry about what you don’t. I hope she keeps this attitude for a lifetime.

 **Thanks to my friend Crispy Bacon who took all these amazing photos and allowed me to use them on the blog!!

About Denise

Hi! I'm Denise, a 40+ year old SAHM trying to navigate the world of motherhood. I blog about parenting, food, and have been featured a few times on BlogHer. I enjoys solving mysteries (Okay..reading mysteries or watching them on TV), cooking, and drinking way too much caffeine than I should. Basically, anything I needs to do to survive the toddler years.



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  1. I am purposely keeping the birthday parties small for my kids. Two of my three have summer birthdays and unless you are plugged in to a lot of social avenues when kids are out of school, that can really drive the attendance down. We did something very similar to what you did for our son’s recent 5th birthday and it was a blast.
    Jill recently posted…I told my two year old she has a big butt

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