less is more.

Monday, June 27, 2011

{music should play instantly now, once blog is uploaded. . .just hang on a sec.}
meet my evil twin.
(my much more beautiful mini-evil-twin.)
sweet-looking, huh?
this is what i deal with, on a daily basis.  
and this is the face she makes when she's annoyed. 
it's quite hilarious.  she will run a company someday.  
or a family.  they're really one and the same, aren't they?
but a feisty little thing that has been the focus of my efforts the past few months,
the object of my late-night browsing's on ETSY, to find the perfect fairy wands,
perfect fairy wings, halos, games, cake, party favors.
and let's just be honest, as much as it was supposed to be for HER, 
to celebrate HER and her blessed five years of life here on this earth
and OUR blessed time to have her,
part of it was for me.  to say, "HEY!  LOOK WHAT I CAN DO?!  LOOK AT THIS SWEET PARTY I THREW FOR MY BABY GIRL!"  (who, quite honestly, could've cared less AND didn't necessarily deserve all the time, money and effort that went into it.  i'm just sayin'. . .she's been quite an ungrateful little thing lately.  but rightly so. . .she's five.)
so why do it, you ask?
i've made it clear that i'm all about the 'ta-da' factor,
but there are other reasons.
number one, she's my only girl.  my baby.
number two, she turned 5.  and that's a big frickin' deal in my book.
number three, because how cool, i thought it'd be, 
to throw an 'unforgettable' party, 
like the 'sweet 16's' you see on MTV that are totally over the top obnoxious, inappropriate costly,
driven by insane mothers who just want to show themSELVES and their money off.
that wasn't my motivation.
we're just your run-of-the-mill family of five in a little river town,
trying to find peace amongst chaos, trying daily to appreciate one another and the life we have.
AND get our kids to the age of 18 safely.
so what could've easily been a small party of little girls, pizza and sprinklers, 
turned in to a fairy-fest (she wanted a 'fairy' theme.)  
as her list of invitees got longer, i lost control and my creativity and 'visions' of the perfect little girl party got the best of me.  (also inspired by one of my favorite bloggers and a fairy party SHE threw for HER daughter once.)
i had to.  just once.  throw an awesome shindig that little girls everywhere could lose their mind at and be enveloped in everything pink and fairy and covered in sugar.
i will not be posting pictures of this party here, as lovely and darling and perfectly as it was executed,
because it's not important.  we did it.  it was awesome.  and i think all the kids had a great time.  but it was not a true reflection of my gracie.
awesome and tired mommies came together, dragging siblings with, 
getting lost in the chaos to help out and wipe sticky faces and slip little arms and legs in to little swimsuits and it was wonderful.
but it was a blur.  the exhaustion of planning, decorating, hosting, 
always takes it's toll.
leaving mommies blurry-eyed and wiped out, unable to FULLY enjoy the moment that you were planning for to begin with.
and again, it wasn't a TRUE reflection of my baby girl.

grace, although, a handful at times,
likes quiet, simple, coziness.
she can get lost in kid-craziness with the best of 'em, 
but at her core, is solitude, coloring quietly at the kitchen table, 
reading books in her bed,
playing with one friend at a time.
she would've enjoyed a picnic at the park with a few friends and some popsicles.
she really could've cared less about whether we had the perfect shabby chic banner hanging across the yard, green fondant on the cake or the perfect butterfly-shaped sandwiches.  she's a kid. 
kids don't need much.  and God bless 'em for it.
we don't give them enough credit for that and yet we continue to do over the top stuff for them, 
in hopes that we'll advance higher up on the 'most-amazing-mommy-ladder.'
which, doesn't really exist.
these sweet little beings just want love.
and treats once in awhile.
which brings me to my topic of greater importance. . .
MY DEAR GOD as parents, we want to give our kids so much,
love, treats, clothes, experiences. . .we want them to HAVE so much,
or all the above that maybe we didn't have.
which is just fine.
but they don't need half of it.
in fact, i think they'd be better people, more humble and generous adults without any of it.
except, the love, of course.
the days that she is at her worst,
i blame myself.  because most likely, she's acting this way or that way,
because she needs something from me.
more one on one time, more hugs, more attention, just more of me.
and when you're literally RUNNING a household,
it feels some days, there is only so much of you to go around.
(and i won't even talk about husbands.  they get the raw end of the deal, most days.)
but the days that i actually sit down with her, or just sit across the table to eat lunch with them
and talk about our day so far,
instead of hovering over them, waiting for them to finish so i can shove them out of the kitchen to clean up,
are the best days.
that's all they want.
they don't need an outing planned everyday.
the most perfectly orchestrated outfits to make them look more beautiful than they already are.
all the ice cream and toys in the world,
the most perfect birthday parties. . .
they just need and want love, attention and peace and to have the freedom to JUST BE.
some of the best birthday parties we've ever had,
are the simple ones.
the ones where grandma & grandpa's huddle around our dining room table, 
over one of my ugly but delicious homemade cakes,
in the intimacy of our family room, plastic plates and plastic forks.
i know that now.  and a huge, ridiculous party just re-confirmed that belief, something i already knew,
that the most beautiful in life, is found in the most simple.
in the 'less is more.'
as we tuck the kids in on sunday nights, 
we always ask, 'what was the most favorite part of your weekend?'
(a little way for us to take inventory of what works and what doesn't and how they really see their world and what they really want and enjoy. . .and just to hear their answers.)
and as we rinsed off remaining soap suds from their sunday bath, got towels ready for slimey babes,
i waited for gracie's answer.  already knowing it.
'my favorite part of the weekend was swinging at the park.  oh!  and maybe getting ice cream.'
no mention of the three-hour-blowout we threw in her honor.
and i smiled.  
despite our exhaustion, i was happy and completely content with that answer.
because that is my grace.  and that is who i want her to be.
a child, someday a woman, that is content with simplicity.
that doesn't expect much, lives in the moment and appreciates and finds great joy,
in the little things.

give the girl a life jacket and a sunny day,
and she's happy.
the choice to wear jammies all day 
or lounge in her tinkerbell undies past noon.
and she's happy.
freedom to jump
run. . .barefoot, of course.
to play, swing, dance.
she is a little girl.  there are high-maintenance sides to her.
she doesn't like sticky hands or her blueberries to touch anything else on her plate,
her closet light on and her door open a smidge,
but like all children, she just needs love.  
enough to give them the support, strength and confidence they need to grow and spread their wings.
and the most simple experiences.  the ones filled with family, fun and simpleness.
windows down in the mini-van, their favorite ice cream flavor, their favorite park, 
their favorite book.
not necessarily through the avenue of grand parties, grand vacations, grand adventures.
the best part of gracie's fifth birthday celebrating,
was her actual birthday.  
where we spent a quiet sunday morning (jack & brian were in alaska,)
planning out her special day, just the three of us.
she woke up to streamers hanging from her bedroom door (her favorite,)
a few presents piled at her spot on the kitchen table for her to open,
and all she wanted was to go out to breakfast (another favorite pastime of hers.)

so we hit up a favorite local diner for chocolate chip pancakes, sausage and all the apple juice she could drink.
the freedom to be herself.

and she was happy.


Luxury Serviced Apartments Lady said...

What a wonderful story! Your 'evil twin' really doesn't look too evil, she looks adorable!

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