Party mojo

There’s something I need you to know: I used to be good at throwing parties. Really, I did. I’ve thrown tea parties, gender reveal parties, tacky Christmas sweater parties. In grad school, my roommates and I threw a potato party for no other reason than that we wanted to cram 20 people into our townhouse and eat baked potatoes together on a Friday night. 

A friend once graciously told me I had the gift of hospitality, which apparently I did not cultivate because I now have a mild panic attack if people enter my home without taking their shoes off first. Suffice to say, I’ve lost a bit of my party planning mojo in recent years. 

On Saturday, we threw a 2nd birthday party for CJ. “What’s the theme?” A friend asked me. “Um… cake and balloons?” I told her uncertainly. 

The party was initially going to take place outside at a park, because North Carolina weather in October is just about perfect. Except on weekends like this one, when a hurricane rolls through. Thankfully we were able to make a last minute pivot and have the party at my dad’s apartment complex.

The week leading up to the party felt chaotic for a variety of reasons, and on Friday night I realized I didn’t even have candles and matches. Or, you know, anything else. A few hours before the party, my mom ran out to get napkins, plates, and forks. My dad ordered a chocolate and vanilla cake from Publix, his girlfriend made pinwheel sandwiches, and Josh’s family brought drinks. Tortilla chips and salsa somehow materialized out of thin air, and it turned out that nobody starved. 

With the party swirling around me and gray clouds looming outside, I sat down with some chips and salsa and took it all in. CJ was absolutely delighted with the abundance of attention and balloons (the kid is a sucker for balloons, especially red ones). Kyeler was thrilled because he thought it was his birthday, too. The adults were chatting while the kids ran breathlessly from game to game. A few people kindly shared their favorite memories of CJ in between mouthfuls of cake. It seemed like everyone was having a good time, just happy to be together.

And really, isn’t that what a birthday party is all about anyway? Gathering together (in hurricane weather, if need be) to remind someone: you are loved, and celebrated, and the world is a better place because you are in it. 

Maybe one day I’ll get my party planning mojo back. Or maybe I’ll just enjoy the simplicity of gathering a few people together to eat, laugh, and celebrate life.

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