She seemed so serious with her message that it actually concerned me. I began asking myself...
Have I been taking her for granted?
Have I betrayed her trust in some way?
Has my hermit-like existence gone too far even for my equally introverted best friend?
But before my thoughts ran amok—and I think she might have sensed my neurosis kicking in—she then added, "In the past, you were already sending invitations by February!"
She's right. It was April and less than two weeks before my son's birthday and I had just finished sending out the Evites. It has come to this. I didn't even bother with actual mailed out invitations this time around. In previous years, I even made my own invitations, composing a nice background image for the photocard and being ever so selective with how I phrase the invitation.
This year, it was an electronic proforma invitation courtesy of the trampoline park where my son wanted to hold his party. There will be no goody bags for me to compose and the cake will be ordered, not from some fancy bake shop or patisserie, but from a reputable supermarket chain.
The truth is, not only have I been very busy, I've also been feeling very tired and old. I did slightly drop the ball this year and in the end it all still worked out, as they always do. I felt like this birthday bash business was simply a been-there-done-that kind of thing, and feeling like a veteran mom has earned me the license to slacken a little bit and go for practicality instead of shooting for the wow factor. Besides, shouldn't the only focus be on the celebrant having fun with his friends? We all know that none of these kids really remember what cake they had or how expensive the party was. None of those things matter to them.
But just as I was basking in this new-found pride of now feeling like a veteran mom—more accepting and less neurotic—the Universe decides to test me. A few days after the weekend partying, our world was forced to slow down, thanks to a mild sprain, followed shortly by a strep throat. Though I didn't completely panic and spasm with fear as if it were the great plague that descended upon us, I must admit that I was still pretty concerned...more concerned than your real veteran Mom. I guess there is a learning curve to this and I need a few more years to master the role.
Overall, I kind of like it, this Zen-ish side of me. I like that I'm capable of choosing not to put too much pressure on myself. I like that I'm able to see that things always do work out after all. I like that I care less about appearances and perfection, and more about experiences and character-building. It's very freeing. And it's great to see that it isn't just my son who's getting older and a little wiser.