Last week my family and I celebrated one awesome girl. One of our foster girls turned the big 1-6. A big milestone for her no doubt. For months we’ve been planning on what party she wanted. We budgeted out what we were going to do. Sadly, the original plan didn’t happen because of the weather. But we still found a way to throw a party.
The day before the party I sent her and my husband out to get party snacks and decorations. Here I was expecting a huge bag of party decor because that’s her personality. But when they came back, all they bought was food and a birthday banner. I was shocked. Didn’t she want more?
The day of the party comes around and we got our girl two cakes. One was an ice cream cake and one a regular. Her guest list was about 20 so we wanted to be prepared. Hours begin to approach the party and I felt unprepared. If it was up to me I would have covered our whole downstairs in sweet 16 decor. But she wanted simple.
The time of the party came and only 2 people showed up other than us. I was so sad for her. How could this sweet 16 not be amazing?! My perfectionist side was coming out. I started to feel like a failure. Why didn’t I just decorate the party my way? I started focussing on the expectations of the world. I felt like I could have done so much more. While in the middle of my thoughts our girl came up to my husband and I. She threw herself on both of us for a group hug. With a huge smile she said, “Thank you for my party and presents. It’s the best birthday I’ve ever had.”
What?! How could it be? There are little decorations, few guests and you’re still having a great time? I realized in that moment she was just happy to be celebrated even if it was a simple Sweet 16 Birthday party.
Later that night she told us why she thought this birthday was the best. She explained that being surrounded by people who cared about her made it the best. To the world and to me, this party was basic. But to her…it was a party to remember.
Our 16-year-old reminded me the meaning of being grateful for what we have. She reminded me that a party with decor, party favors, matching cups and plates doesn’t equal a perfect party. It’s about those who are around us. It’s about those who show up to celebrate with us throughout life. It’s about finding the joy in daily life.