Shopping in preparation for my childhood birthday parties are my earliest memories of my over-thinking, indecisive nature.
My mother was (and is) a saint.
I was a lucky kid. My Mom would take me to Wayside Bazaar, a local shop with party decorations and table settings in every color you can imagine. She would patiently help me work through my hand-wringing over my birthday color scheme, which balloons would work with the plates, which plates would work with my cake, and which party favors my guests would most like to have. I recall myself agonizing over these decisions. What I thought would happen if I didn’t get it “right”, I’m not quite sure.
I think it has something to do with regret. Which is hilarious in this context.
I am not proud to say that I have not grown out of these tendencies. For example, because I can’t find a color that’s quite right to repaint the front room of my house, I have huge patches of not-quite-right color all over the place where I was trying out various failing shades.
This year, I decided to host a New Year’s Eve party. I have never done this before, and while I am nervous about how it will go, I am also really grateful to have something to plan right now.
As I get older I am more and more aware of how lucky I am. I have my whole family – brother, SIL, Mom and Dad, around for the holidays. For my whole adulthood, (minus the one when I was on an internship – worst Christmas ever), we have held up the tradition of hanging out at my parents’ house for a few days together, playing games, relaxing by the fire, having amazing meals and interesting conversation around the table.
And then we all go home before we start annoying each other. It’s magical.
A melancholic cloud rolls in when I pull out of the driveway of my childhood home after Christmas. I do not have kids or a husband with whom I have made my own, different traditions, so I am very aware that someday, the traditions I have known for 42 years will be no more. The thought of not having that gives me an extremely heavy heart.
Planning for this NYE party has helped squelch that, so I’m grateful for it.
I told myself I would go through all my old party stuff – plates, napkins, whatever, and use those. Nope. That idea lasted about no time at all when I realized my plates were boring and nothing matched and that simply won’t do.
I’ve gone to Party City, then Christmas Tree Shop, then back to Party City to buy supplies. I found really nice plates at Christmas Tree Shop, then later realized that they won’t likely be very sturdy and we cannot have that (because my food my be unnaturally heavy? I don’t know)! I searched on Amazon for sturdy, reusable plastic plates that I could use again down the line (with no luck – did I mention I’m picky?), then found plastic plates during my second visit to Party City today (I guess I’m returning the cheap ones from Christmas Tree Shop later?). I spent hours on my computer designing banners and then assembling them. I’ve made little party favors for my guests LIKE A GIANT WEIRDO, and have party games on hand in case it somehow turns into an awkward middle school dance situation where no one is talking or have any fun whatsoever.
I am loving every over-planning minute of it.