You know the old adage about how a really disastrous dress rehearsal bodes well for a mishap-free opening night? You don't? Okay, well, trust me. It's a well-established convention in the theater, just like you should never ever say Macbeth's name aloud in the theater.
Well, I think the same principle must be at work when it comes to birthday parties.
In the week leading up to William's birthday party on Saturday, it started to seem like the party was just not going to happen. Or at least it wasn't going to happen the way we'd hoped.
I got sick one day, William threw up another day, David started to feel sick one evening toward the end of the week, the weather looked ominous for Saturday and so on. William's friend Leland's mom emailed me to say that Leland had gotten sick and she might not make it. My dad had surgery so he and my mom couldn't come up for the party. My father-in-law got sick, and so his appearance was doubtful. The gloom descended on me. I asked myself why I had thought it was a good idea to plan a big party for a two-year-old. I even, yes, moped around about it.
Then there was the whole patio furniture debacle. We were supposed to have a "let the kids run amok in the backyard" party, but the forecasts all were predicting rain. Then, when the weather reports started looking more positive, we realized that we still didn't have any patio furniture. I won't get into the details here, but let's just say that somehow or another, all the efforts to move Mark's old patio furniture from his former roommate's house were thwarted. Mark called me early Saturday morning with despair in his voice. Neither of us could figure out what to do. I half-heartedly proposed that one of us buy a folding table at Target. Mark wondered aloud if we should try to find someone, anyone, who owned a truck. It seemed like the outdoor part of the party was just Not Going to Happen.
Then a miracle happened. His old roommate had managed to borrow a truck after all, and the two moved the furniture over just before noon. They hosed it down, and it was ready to go! Ready for platters of toddler snacks! Hurrah!
Except then it started raining again.
Then I managed to bump into my mother-in-law's car when I was backing my car out of the garage on my last errand to Publix.
And then the balloon that I bought to put on the mailbox--to distinguish our house from the other three houses in our little area that were also having birthday parties--managed to somehow get away from me in the Publix parking lot. And I didn't realize it 'til I got home.
Oh yes, and William refused to nap before the party. He stood in his crib and sang. Loudly. So that we could not miss the fact that no, he was not napping.
And my hair looked frizzy, but well, that's an everyday occurence, and so probably it shouldn't be on the list.
But you know what? Despite all that, despite all the insanity leading up to it, the party turned out just fine. Better than just fine, in fact.
Just a bunch of old and new friends laughing and eating and hanging out. Plenty of food and drinks. Thrilled with all the attention, William was in his element. I got to actually talk to everyone who was there. And weirdly, when everyone finally left to go home, we looked around and realized, "There really isn't that much to clean up." Except for the typical scattering of William's toys, the house was remarkably clean!
As my friend Mary Clare said, there were no melt-downs, no big tantrums, no accidents and no blood spilled. And that, my friends, is the definition of a successful birthday party for a two-year-old.
More pictures to come.