Almost three weeks have passed since the Boy turned one. Three weeks of postponing a party because of illness, because of Memorial Day, because of whatever. So the party is not just a year in the making; it’s a year and three crucial weeks in the making.
We’d planned an outdoor party with games for the kids to correspond with Dzien Dziecka in Poland. A simple plan: potato sack race, water balloon toss, foot race, egg race, and other outdoor favorites starting around three in the afternoon. Afterward, an early dinner and cake.
All outside. I mean, we have a dual-level deck, a carport (that actually used to be a screened patio), and a fairly abundant yard.
It was a week of beautiful weather that we spent in school and at work. But this party shone in the near-future as a reward for all our time inside that we really wanted to be out. And then the updated forecast yesterday: good chance of scattered showers.
By one this afternoon, the chance of showers turned into a certainty of a seemingly-extended downpour. It rained, and rained, and grew drearier and grayer.
“This is just like our wedding,” I grumbled to K. We’d had a week of glorious weather until the morning of our August wedding, when it began drizzling, then raining, then drizzling, then spitting.
“It’ll stop,” K reassured.
“No, it won’t. It will be like this all day,” I replied.
I tend to be a pessimist in such situations. It’s not that I hope to be right; it’s simply that I try to expect the worst so I can be pleasantly surprised if anything brighter emerges.
As it turned out, we were both right, both wrong.
It stopped shortly after all the guests arrived.
We made a quick plan: cake first, then outdoor games if the rain continues to slack.
After cake, we rushed out, finished the games, and as the last shot flew toward the goal,
as the last velcro-covered ball floated to the target, the drizzle returned and wen headed back inside.
Lunch/dinner was a mix of smoked meats, salads, bread — fairly typical Polish fare. The kids picked, the adults ate.
Meal completed and ice cream served, we moved to the living room for presents.
It’s an ironic process for a one-year-old. There’s not much unwrapping he can do. And often the packaging is as entertaining as the toy itself. Yet it’s a birthday: part of the highlight is the unwrapping.
Such was the case today.
The most thoughtful gift: a broom. J, who keeps E during the week, lives just up the street, and she came with her daughter, mother-and-law, and a broom.
“He just loves our broom, and I thought he’d like to have one his own size.”
But there was no time to play with the broom — and no room, for he likes to swing and sway with it in a most dangerous way when the room is so crowded. Never mind — there was plenty to distract him.
New toys. semi-new friends. (How much can a one-year-old remember of another toddler he hasn’t seen in ages?)
The mess afterward was truly enormous. But that’s the sign of a good party, a good mess.
The rain, though? It returned in full force shortly after we went inside and continued into the evening. The older children resorted to that old-fashioned play technique: creativity and imagination.
The rain continued, the children cleaned up the mess, the guests returned home (with Nana and Papa staying longer to help with the clean-up), and K and I set about getting the kids in bed.
Not a bad first birthday party. Perhaps when he looks at these pictures, the Boy will remember something, if only the feeling of excitement.