being a mother is a tough job. being a single mother is even more difficult for one reason alone. you, alone, are the only one making the tough decisions. conversely, you are also (hopefully) credited with the good times, especially birthday parties.
i have mad respect for single parents who have multiple children. one was enough for me. i use to respond to people when asked how many children i have, “there is only one of me, so there is only one of her.” my daughter, mck & i have had lots of highs & lows. this post is not about discussing the lows. it’s about the highest of highs… planning birthday parties!
when mck was recently home from college for spring break, she was bemoaning the fact her college birthdays were not what she had hoped. mck has a summer birthday, which lands usually memorial day weekend, along with end of school year activities such as graduations. therefore planning birthday parties has always been tricky for me. mck’s friends were usually on family holiday & now they are off on their own adult adventures. by the time we discovered the idea of “half birthday” parties, this concept was a no go as it fell on thanksgiving break (sad trombone).
i share mck’s dilemma as my birthday always fell during spring break and we never traveled with friends. i mean i did have a few birthday parties, but with four kids mother only did them every other year. ironically my friends planned my 21st birthday & it happened to be at the beach for spring break.
So back to the discussion of mck’s birthdays…upon realization the reason she was so disillusioned with her adult birthdays, was because her MOTHER planned such fabulous ones for her as a child (can you hear the angelic chorus singling HALLELUJAH at that moment right?) who knew i did a few things right after all!
when you are an only child, the universe usually revolves around you. if you are familiar with her story, she is a product of a relationship, which was over before i knew i was pregnant & we were not loved nor wanted. i did the best i could to fill the void. so what’s a party planning single mother to do…make the events epic.
we have had all manner of parties, spring break themes & fairly festive holidays. yes, let’s be clear i have always loved a good party & was dubbed “julie mccoy cruise director” in our senior future predictions, but i digress.
most of mck’s parties were homegrown. meaning with a single income, i had to be clever.
i threw parties for her in public parks which are super cost effective for large groups, especially when you live in a tiny apartment & want to invite the whole class (because you are new to town & unsure of whom you don’t wish to piss off.) i usually baked her cakes & these included cake in ice cream cones, barbie cake & an oreo cake (literally oreos staked with frosting in between.) there were a few costco cakes in between, which for the price ($25 for half a sheet) they are seriously delicious & feeds a legion of kids.
themes include color specific; barbie & scooby do; a yet to be released cartoon show named “kim possible” (because we had an “in” in with disney); backwards theme with an invite you had to read using a mirror; pink flamingos; movie in the yard watching “GREASE”; sweet 16 double pizza party with one of her besties; & a blue hydrangea, simple supper under the stars for 17.
mck spent her 18th birthday in chicago with her classmates, so i concentrated my efforts on her graduation soiree in 2013. we were in a new home (some last minute construction for ease of party flow), creative invites ordered online using her senior portrait, lots of food & bevies, valet parking, but filled with people we loved. so off to college, which brings us to her birthday lamentations (okay strong descriptive word, but you get the idea.)
mck sent me a few photos from pinterest hinting of her birthday, so i began taking note & text with her friends. i could not have pulled off“the week of mck” without the help of her besties from high school & college. i want them to know i am eternally grateful.
my proudest moment was ordering the color changing cups from my sweet friend’s boutique “you’re invited,” here in nashville. we came up with the perfect phrase & one of my designer friends aided in the font choices. i placed an order for 100 which carried us through several days & will be super useful her senior year of college (opaque containers wink wink.) there is a story behind these cups, a tale of woe written by her grandparents, so these are a good comeback on my part.
at midnight on her actual day of birth, i did what any self-respecting single mother would do... i went to winners bar with her to kick off the week of mck. it was a hoot. we will leave it with that. lol!
there was a surprise dinner at her grandparents home on mck's actual birthday. her besties were there for me again designing the most adorable "mckennagram" sign they used as a prop for photos (it's original intent is to give directive while drinking on the night of the big party). dinner was prepared by dani cates catering & was divine. mck knew something was up, but was delightfully surprised to see family & close friends in attendance to fete her.
so here it is in all of it’s glory, the 21st birthday celebration. i hope it was everything mck wanted. most importantly she felt the love from friends & family who cherish her. the mck's birthday was the day my life started.
mck is well aware this is the last big soiree thrown by mummy, as we discussed, she’s a "full fledge adult". so if we were going out, we were going big. a grand time was had by all & i adored planning every second of it.
considering the fact event planning is part of what PRoj&ct GiRL consulting offers, the statement “it’s all in the details” holds true. honestly, if PG cannot pull off a great party for my child, how would anyone trust me with their most treasured events & memories.
happy birthday mck! i love you so much. 100 percent.
as always, thank YOU for taking the time to read and i wish you…
peace, love & gratitude.