Today is Goose’s third birthday. Three years ago this morning, I was holding a hot little baby and wondering at what life as a mom to two boys would be like. Wondering how I had been blessed, once again.
Goose has grown into an amazing guy. He is hilarious and tender and compassionate and smart. Did I mention he is hilarious?
I ask myself where his sense of humor comes from. He’s sharp, not just goofy, and keeps us simultaneously laughing and favoring a bit of curiosity as to where he comes up with this stuff.
As a mom, of course I ask what hand I play in who he is. Not because I want to take pride in him, but because I really like how he and his brother are turning out. If I have anything to do with this run of luck, I would sure like to keep it up.
With a new baby sister on the way, I most certainly would like to keep it up.
This is a Nature vs. Nurture debate that maintains a heady battle in my mind.
And lately? I’m worried that I’m slipping in the battle.
As many of you know, I am cohosting The People’s Party the night before BlogHer in Chicago this year, a mere few days away. More pertinently, I am organizing it. That means hours of phone calls and emails, negotiation with sponsors, and wrangling of notoriously distractible bloggers. Hosting a party for near 700 guests in a city I’ve never seen is quite a task, particularly when we are trying to slather those guests with free drinks and bountiful swag bags.
July is, understandably, an insane month. But not just because of the pre-BlogHer party. Also because July is the birth month of both Q and Goose, birthdays only days apart. Goose who turned three today and Q who turns 5 next week. Five years old. That means kindergarten, the point of no return and an event I am none too excited about. But I’ll write about that another day.
Today, I am focused on the joint birthday party we are throwing for our sons this afternoon. The party that used to absorb my attention during the month of July.
This is where I shamefully admit that my sons’ birthday party priority has been bumped by that of The People’s Party.
For shame. You know my name.
I love to throw fabulous parties. I don’t mean large parties, though the pre-BlogHer party is certainly large, but rather lavish parties… lavishly creative, that is. It is one of my favorite opportunities to show my sons, in the case of their birthday party, or our family and friends, in the case of our wedding, just how much I love them.
When it’s not about you but rather about them, it is easy to become carried away.
Q’s first birthday was a mixed theme of dogs and rock-n-roll. We called it “Club Dog Dog” and outfitted my parents’ bar with Elvis paraphernalia, guitars, and a cake shaped like a guitar, the recipe for which Maguire and I found before Q was born and eagerly looked forward to using. Everyone had custom t-shirts and backstage passes hanging on lanyards. It rocked.
When Q turned two, Goose had been born only days earlier, so we scaled back and did a combo of Jurassic Park and Thomas the Tank Engine. We called it “Jurassic Train Station” and somehow managed to bake a cake that looked like a train station attacked by dinosaurs. I’m surprised I could even walk, let alone bake and decorate, but we did it and excitedly so.
Q’s third birthday and Goose’s first was our first joint party and the first where their friends were invited. We did a classic carnival theme and took it over the big top, replete with midway games good for earning tickets to “buy” toys and trinkets, face painting, fortune telling, as well as a carnival stand-up where you could poke your head through and look like a daredevil ringmaster with your head in the lion’s mouth… which our family made. Just wow.
And then I decided to go to BlogHer. Which fell during our birthday party week for their fourth and second birthdays.
Did I mention that bloggers can be distractible? In which case, something has to give.
Last year, that meant the boys’ birthday party. Although still more fun than a just-turned 2 year old and 4 year old know how to handle, we scaled way back again. Just a simple family Kung Fu Panda party, some decorations, treats, and possibly a bootleg DVD of the yet-released movie, courtesy of their ever-cool uncle. Because every party needs a hint of danger.
Look, I realize that kids don’t know the difference between a bash and a fling. They don’t necessarily feel any more or less loved based on the amount of planning that went into their birthday party.
So I sit here this morning, bogged down in fun yet tedious hours still of last-minute party planning aimed at Chicago, and have next to nothing to do in order to prepare for Q and Goose’s birthday party later today. It just feels weird.
They wanted a Transformers theme, which was easy enough, but also wanted to invite their friends from Montessori school. Given my level of distraction these last few weeks (oh, yeah, I’m also still very much six months pregnant), the state of our home does not bode well for entertaining guests, so we are having their party at a party facility for the first time ever. Granted, it’s a kick-ass indoor inflatables place that the boys have never seen and will pass out from all of the excitement the moment they walk in, but it still feels hollow, somehow.
This is mom guilt talking. The part of me that trusts nurture just a smidge more than nature. The part that sort of believes that our kids do feel more loved when we slave just a tiny bit over their parties.
Mom Guilt. Mom Passion. Mom Love. The part of me that believes that wearing clown shoes to their carnival party makes a heart-string’s worth of difference in their precious hearts. I know I can’t be alone in feeling torn over this (very worthwhile and truly awesome) distraction in Chicago, but I’m not yet sure if that makes me feel any better.
I still sort of wish I was wearing clown shoes today.