Eleanor turned one on September seventh. Because she spent her first five weeks of life in the hospital, I sometimes celebrate milestones with more pomp and circumstance than necessary. But a first birthday? Surely this called for a major celebration. But as my guest list passed the 100 mark, I wondered: Am I going too far?
My feeling was this: a little girl only has one first birthday. So I mailed (no, not emailed) invitations to family and friends, purchased far too many decorations, spent a good chunk of money on goodie bags, made ridiculous amounts of food and even hired a photographer friend to take professional photos.
On the big day, 65 people filtered in and out, bestowing their best wishes and generous gifts upon my little girl. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, but the reality of the day was much different than my expectations.
Guests arrived early, which cut my decorating time in half. There was so much leftover food that my family was on an all-cupcake diet for a week. I forgot to distribute my oh-so-carefully-assembled goodie bags and the contents have been added to our Halloween treats. Eleanor couldn’t have cared less about her presents, wouldn’t smile for the camera and spent most of the day staring quizzically at our guests. And did I mention that my husband and I forgot to get her a gift?
Not everything went as planned, but the one thing I don’t regret is the over-the-top guest list. For me, planning a birthday party was not about having “real” Disney Princesses showing up or buying elaborate gifts; it was about having Eleanor surrounded by the people most important in our lives.
I’d like to think I will go smaller next year, but chances are that it will be a repeat of this year’s festivities. I might cut the guest list back by a few people, but my theory is this: I have one daughter and I will take any chance I can to celebrate her existence. Am I on a path to spoiling my daughter? Probably. But I don’t mind!