This is the time of year where many of us start to lose our minds due to the stress of cooking, shopping, managing all the school events, school vacation days, and everything else. Or maybe it’s just me? I don’t know.
Monday, I had my first taste of holiday induced stress. My daughter’s seventh birthday.
It should be a joyous occasion, and it always is, BUT…. it always falls within a week of Thanksgiving so I’m always trying to plan her party, figure out what our holiday plans are, travel arrangements, if any, and let’s not forget, grading a stack of final papers.
This year, I decided to make a big to-do about her party to overcompensate for last year’s slip up where I mistakenly gave her a choice, a party or Disney World. Disney seems extravagant, I know, except we had annual passes and accommodations were nearly free due to a timeshare owned by the in-laws. So really, gas and food were the only expenses. Of course, she picked Disney World which was all part of my master plan. Two days in Orlando before the holiday shuffle and bustle seemed perfect. She would have a blast and we could relax before things got crazy.
Well, what I didn’t realize is that at age six she was unable to comprehend the fact that she wasn’t going to have a party at all. She spent the following weeks and months after her birthday asking me when her party would take place. After I
yelled explained time and time again that she didn’t choose a party, but chose Disney, I became exasperated with this question. Then I started to feel bad. She wasn’t complaining about her choice, just not understanding. She has never been bratty, is always patient, and is a sweet girl. Always. Six year olds don’t really understand their choices, do they?
This birthday I was going to “fix” all that. She was having a party, rain or shine. Not only was she going to have a party, I was going to surprise her with the party she wanted last year at Peterbrooke Chocolatier . That’s right, a gourmet chocolate shop where you can make chocolate treats and eat gelato in between all the chocolate eating. The party would be held on her birthday. Later in the evening, I would cook dinner for the rest of the family – all 17 of us – and she would have a surprise cake.
(Told you I was over-compensating.)
So I got to planning and made it all happen including buying her the gift she has been dreaming about for the last two years, an American Girl. It just so happened I would be in Chicago for Latism; making a stop to the flagship store while there fit in my plan perfectly (and I saved on shipping!). So on my last morning in Chicago, I skipped breakfast and my morning coffee (GASP!), ran past Saks, Neiman’s, and Nordstrom’s (whom I hear was having their semi-annual sale event!!!) and zipped through the store to make my special purchases. The trip took longer than expected so I had to run back to the hotel and nearly missed my shuttle service to the airport.
End result of all my planning and running around? My baby girl had “the best day ever!” as she so happily put it. She loved her gifts, loved her surprise party, and loved the birthday dinner. I pulled off the surprise by leaving the house early so that I could decorate the shop with balloons and birthday stuff. I told the birthday girl I was going to work but promised to meet her at Peterbrooke later to pick out some birthday chocolate. When she walked in the restaurant she was so surprised she almost jumped out of her skin. After the party, I let her two BFFs come over for a short play date while my mom and I began prepping for dinner.
I made my famous shrimp and grits, cranberry and pecan carmelized chicken, tender baked pork chops with sweet potatoes and apples, salad, and my mom made Papitas Gratinadas (Mexican styled potatoes au gratin).
My sister-in-law made the cake which tasted as good as it looked!