We threw two parties in our little house this weekend. In our little house with an eat-in kitchen and one small living room, we gathered up 10 kids and 10 adults on Friday night for a WiiU party, and then gathered up 10 kids again on Sunday for a birthday party. And both times our little house was plenty big enough.
On Friday night, we hosted a party – or rather we invited a bunch of our friends over to our house for a party Nintendo hosted. I’ve been a brand ambassador for Nintendo for a few years now, and this was a chance for them to show off the new WiiU. They paid for a local chef to cater, showed up with beer and pop, and even thought to bring napkins. It was fantastic, and all I had to do was clean and send out emails with the date and time.
Sunday was a different story entirely. Sunday was Emma’s 8th birthday, and we’d decided to throw an artist-themed party at our house. There’s no corporate marketing crew for kids’ birthday parties, at least not one that would fit into our budget.
But here’s the great thing about kids and parties: good enough is good enough.
The house ws clean, except we didn’t mop because we knew we’d have to mop after the party anyway. And we didn’t bother with our bedroom because we could just close that door. And instead of making sure all the tables were dusted, we covered them with drop cloths to protect them from paint spills.
We planned activities based on the artist theme. That included a mirror and a desk covered in face paints, paint brushes, and Q-tips. Instead of hiring a professional face painter, we let the kids go at themselves and each other, and they loved it. They turned themselves into tigers and created elaborate facial hair on their friends. Not once did they ask where the expert was.
We had cake and cupcakes, which the kids then decorated themselves with colored icing and sprinkles picked up from the dollar bin at Target. They made a ginormous mess and pretty much everyone ended up with a cupcake that looked like an exploded eyeball. The giggles and stuffed faces said they approved, and not once did they ask about ice cream or finger sandwiches or homemade cookies painted to look like crayons.
We played games and they won prizes: pencil packs, jars filled with colorful candies, over-sized pens, and those squishy balls with squishier tendrils. Only once did someone ask me about party favors, and she seemed perfectly happy when I reminded her about the prizes and the canvas she’d painted earlier.
It was all good enough: the make-shift karaoke session at the end of the party when we realized we still had an hour to go and all of our planned activities were over, the balloons stuck to the wall with painter’s tape, the folding chairs brought in for more seating.
In fact, it was more than good enough. It was fun. It was a perfect celebration of who Emma is. It was a chance for ten kids to get together outside of school and be incredibly loud but exceedingly nice to one another. It was a chance for Jared and I to interact with Emma’s friends and shake hands with their parents.
One mom told me repeatedly how much she liked our house. “It’s so bright,” she said. “It’s so simple, and not cluttered, and I just love your house.”
It was good, is what I’m saying.
And it didn’t require us to be anything but what we are and where we are.
Both parties, actually, were a great reminder that what we have to offer right now is, almost always, enough. That most people would rather connect than judge, and that life doesn’t have to be perfect to be fun.
This is something I need to hear from myself often. “It’s enough. You’re enough.” Because it’s so easy to get caught up in what I don’t have, can’t do, am not giving. It’s so easy to look around at what else I could be. But this weekend I didn’t do that.
This little house was exploding with laughter. We did our best to show our love, and our best was good enough. It usually is.