It all started with Tupperware. Surely, you remember? It was the perfect container for transporting cupcakes without destroying the lovingly delicious treats. I could carry that baby on the school bus, drop it a few times and still arrive with perfectly frosted cupcakes. Classmates would greet me at the door, salivating over the little jewels, and declare me the hero for the day! Just 9 years old and in the third grade, I was hooked on classroom parties.
Fast forward to 1995 when I eagerly volunteered to plan the class party for my then 5-year-old son. How tough could it be? I imagined precious little cherubs dressed in their holiday finery designing elaborate Gingerbread houses that would surely become family treasures. Two hours later, I'm scraping frosting from desks, the carpet and the teacher's hair wondering how such small, seemingly innocent children could have shattered my dreams so quickly?
Party planning evolved into emailing everyone in the class with endless back-and-forth emails to determine the items needed. I'm slightly embarrassed that we actually believed this method of communication was genius! I arrived at one party to discover that there wasn't any ice cream for the "Build your own Sundae" party. Thankfully, kids didn't seem to notice that whipped cream with sprinkles was not the actual plan. I'm sure I heard one kid declare it was the best party ever, but the poor mom who had gotten confused in the email chain and forgot the ice cream is still in therapy.
Six kids later and more class parties than I can count, I still enjoy a chance to celebrate anything with my kids. Class parties have definitely changed over the years. We tend to be more concerned about everything from managing food allergies and student safety to deciding appropriate traditions worthy of celebration. We have replaced phone trees and reply-all emails with online sign ups that can be accessed from our phones while waiting in the carpool line. Homemade cupcakes frosted in the wee hours of the morning have been replaced with a quick stop at the grocery store for commercially prepared treats. Cans of frosting with double dipping 5 year olds have thankfully been replaced by fruit kabobs and a craft project found on Pinterest.
What hasn't changed is our quest to simplify, to celebrate little moments and to make memories with our children. My oldest son, now 25, still remembers the Gingerbread House Party and doesn't speak of it being the disaster I remember. I hope my 10 year old also remembers the cool napkins she brings for each party because her mom has passed the baton to eager moms ready to go all out for the perfect party! The joy of any celebration rests on the memories made with our kids.
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