Darcie Maranich

Darcie Maranich


My son is turning six next week. The invitations for his party have already gone out. We’re loosely going with a Muppet theme this year. By “loosely going with,” I mean to say that the theme will be discernible only to a discriminating eye. His invitations featured Kermit and Animal. His party favors are Pez dispensers with Muppet heads. The background music is the soundtrack from the most recent Muppet movie. We’re even doing rainbow connection cupcakes as a nod to Kermit’s performance in the original Muppet movie. That’s where the buck stops, though.

Admittedly, the inspiration for our party theme came from Pinterest. A link to the most over the top Muppet party you could ever imagine found its way into my stream one night and I spent the next 20 minutes going googly eyed at the elaborate decorations and amazing attention to detail I saw in those pictures. I may have even begun dreaming up ways to create Muppet balloon animals. That is, until my down to Earth husband raised his eyebrows and accusingly asked what I was up to. He feared that—left to my own devices—I’d go overboard. Psst. Between you and me? He may have been right.

It’s so easy to get swept up in the craze that is the modern day birthday party. With a click of the mouse you can order everything from engraved invites to customized piñatas. And most of the party blogs out there feature spreads that Colin Cowie himself couldn’t best. But between the jumping castle and magician and face painting booth, what begins innocently enough as a celebration of life can easily morph into a three ring circus (give or take the bearded lady). Call me crazy, but somehow, I think we’ve strayed from what a birthday party is supposed to be about. That is, coming together with friends and family to honor and celebrate the gift of another year.

So while my son’s party will indeed feature an inflatable water slide, we’re stopping short of hiring a caterer and videographer. Instead, we’ll relish in the simplicity of homemade cake and ice cream. We’ll decorate with balloons and crepe paper instead of fancy tablescapes and Etsy-bought banners. There won’t be craft stations, dress-up stations, or appointments with a caricaturist. There will be a lot of wet kids running around the yard and (likely) making a lot of noise doing so. It’ll be a throwback to the simple birthday parties I remember from my youth. Granted, my son’s party probably won’t be featured in a magazine spread anytime soon (or even on Pinterest, for that matter) but if I do things right, this celebration will be one my son will remember for years to come. And, honestly, I’m pretty okay with that.

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