I went to school to be an event planner.
I love the colors, the planning, the joy!
My degree is all-encompassing. I can work in many different event and entertainment venues – a concert venue, a sports stadium, corporate meetings, convention centers. But my love of all loves is parties and weddings.
But for right now, I’m a mom. Not many weddings are happening in my life. But parties? Oh I can find any excuse to have a party.
Thank goodness for birthdays!
Aidan was turning 3 and he wanted a Super Why birthday party.
It is my firm belief that my kids don’t care about how spectacular their birthday parties are. If you give them cake and invite their friends over, it’s pretty much the best day of their lives.
My kids don’t worry about Pinterest, or DIY decorations.
Those are totally for me. They remind me that I have talents, passions, and things that are still mine.
Please hear me when I say this – I don’t think you need to have a Pinterest-worthy party to be a good mom.
But for me, it’s my hobby. It’s my creative outlet, and it is a part of my DNA to go all in for a party.
So Super Why it was!
I planned. And planned. I made cute little Super Computer labels for the taco bar, themed posters, Super Why Bingo…even the plates were Super Why. The cake from my favorite cake decorating extraordinaire was shaped like a book from the movie (with some planes from Planes upon Aidan’s request). I was in heaven.
The party was just getting started, and it was almost time to eat. The dads were outside playing some game with a ball that requires manliness, and the kids were playing…well, everywhere.
Now, let me say this also, because I don’t want any chiding emails or finger wagging. We are sticklers for helmets at my house. That’s why we have cool helmets…see?
*Note: this is actually from his party — he got a bike and helmet from Grandpa and Nonni for his birthday!*
You don’t get on a bike without a helmet, and for the most part, my kids comply without me having to ask.
For the most part.
This day, it was chaos, and Noah hopped on a scooter and took off without giving a helmet a second thought.
As I was toasting tortillas, one of the dads came in from outside and, bless his heart, calmly asked for a towel.
“What kind of towel?” I asked. Hesitantly, he said, “A towel for Noah’s head. It’ll get bloody. You might want to come out here, too.”
In flooded about 30,000 children in total hysterics screaming about how Noah was broken, bleeding to death, and the like.
I rushed outside muttering to someone that I left tortillas on the griddle…don’t let them burn
I pride myself on keeping a pretty chill attitude about messes and injuries in my house. I encourage my boys to climb higher if they want to, rub some dirt on injuries, and get back up and play. I know that God has blessed me with a washing machine, bathtub, and bandages for a reason. I took a deep breath, and on my way out the door reassured all the guests and children who’d melted into the floor from the hysteria that I was sure everything would be fine. Why didn’t some people start to eat?
When I finally rounded the garage to the driveway, Noah looked like he’d survived the apocalypse. As I picked up my previously nonchalant pace, I saw blood dripping down his face from his forehead. I couldn’t see an injury. I just saw blood. Blood in his hair, blood in his mouth, blood on the ground.
This was a hospital trip, for sure.
As I gathered information, it came out that Noah had fallen off of his scooter right into wheel well of our van parked in our driveway. A one-in-a-million shot. Isn’t that the way it always goes??
I collected him, towel and all, asked my mom to grab my keys, and hopped in the car.
All the dads started gathering up their kids, saying that they should just go home.
No!!! That’s seriously the worst thing! Aidan wouldn’t get a birthday party!
As the car was pulling away, I was yelling, “Don’t go! Please stay for Aidan! The tacos are ready…eat and play, and we’ll be back by cake!”
Can I just say that I have the best mom friends?
They were already in the kitchen working on dinner, pulling out the games, and distracting the kids.
They sent pictures from the party to Noah to keep him in the loop while we waited at the hospital.
The nurses worked double-time when Noah said he was missing his little brother’s birthday party.
And you know what? FIVE stitches later, we were back in time for cake.
When we pulled in the driveway, Aidan was waiting anxiously to see Noah, and Noah was excited to get back to the party. He hopped out of the car and they rushed toward each other.
While they were hugging, Noah said, “Hi Aidan! How’s your birthday party going?” And Aidan replied, “It’s fun! I missed you! Do you feel better?” Noah said, “Yeah! Let’s open your presents, okay?”
Stop it. Just stop it.
The tears that I hadn’t even thought to cry came like a flood.
This beautiful moment between these sweet boys of mine.
This is why I am a mom. This is why what I do matters.
It’s not about the cake, or the decorations. It’s about the love. It’s about the people.
Mom friends who finish throwing your party so you can go to the hospital. Your friends who wait in the driveway for you to get home from the hospital to make sure your head isn’t in 5 pieces. Brothers who spend the afternoon worrying about each other.
This is the beauty in the mess.
This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!