Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Today, I Cancelled My Baby's 1st B-Day Party...

My 4th child, Reese, turned 1 this week.  And Saturday is her 1st birthday party.  Well, it was going to be her 1st birthday party.  That is, until I canceled it.  Yes, today, I called off my last baby's 1st birthday party.

Here is what I emailed our guests:

RE: Reese's Winter ONEderland has been Cancelled!  

I know.  You're thinking, "Did I read that subject line correctly??"
Yes. Yes you did.
A week ago, an adventurous Ramsay family felt like throwing a 1st b-day party for 75 of our closest friend's for our baby's 1st birthday was a good idea.  Heck, with the holidays, this birthday kinda snuck up on us.  But with a little over a week to plan, we thought, "Why not?  Let's do this!"
Well, somewhere between borrowing chafing dishes, creating snowman crafts, borrowing folding tables, collecting folding chairs, making favors... somewhere in the midst of all of that, we came face to face with reality.  We are in a tough season.  We are stretched very thin.  Our kids are getting a sliver of what they deserve from us.  Party planning was probably not the wisest addition to our life right now.  So today we realized we had a choice: Our pride vs. our sanity.  Guess what?  We are kicking our pride to the curb.  A week ago, we were feeling quite ambitious.  Today, we are feeling tired and stressed and exhausted.  
So.  Can we all just agree to tell Reese some day that her 1st birthday party was a blast? But we just forgot to take pics?  ;)  
Honestly, as much as I (Deanna) feel like the biggest loser of a mom and wife and person right now for canceling this, I am reading through this guest list of names and I feel SO blessed that I know each of you.  I know you are a safe place for us to be real.  I know you will give us grace.  I love each of you for that.  
SO sorry for this cancelation.  
Thank you for your understanding.
We love you........

So, you know, that happened today.  
I freaking called off her party.  
I felt guilty and giddy all at once.  
So guilty.  So lame.  So incompetent.  I felt embarrassed and less-than.  
But once I pulled the trigger, I felt so much more free.  Like a weight had been lifted.  I felt peace and relief.  And almost giddy.  Giddy that I had the courage to take something by the cajones and show it who's boss. 

Hmmm.  Boss.  Who the heck is the boss anyway?  So often, I feel like a slave to my calendar.  A slave to my schedule.   A slave to life in general.  It's exhausting and overwhelming.  Today, I took a hard look at what's what.

I'm racing around trying to find thematic paper goods and decorations. I'm piecing together crafts.  As a "non crafter," I cannot stand Pinterest.  And yet, even I got sucked into the abyss that Pinterest is, where I realized how lame my current party plans were.  Because if I didn't have actual, real snow delivered to my yard, then my daughter's Winter ONEderland theme wouldn't be complete.  Oh, and that clever title I came up with?  Nope.  Pinterest informed me that was already a Thing.  Apparently, mom's all over the country have Winter ONEderland's all the time.  And they do it awesomer and fabulouser than me too.  Of course they do.  

Regardless of how uncool or unelaborate my plans were, a party is a party.  A party takes time and energy and emotional space and mental space.  Most of which I have a very little of these days.  And what amount I do have left, is not top notch quality, if you know what I mean.  ;)  And so today, I put a stop to it all.  My kids need what little I have left to give them.  And somehow, putting what little I have left into "Melted Snowman" labels for 75 water bottles just didn't seem right.  I couldn't justify it.  (But come ON.  That's a freaking cute idea, right?) 

So tonight, instead of cutting 35 orange pipe cleaners to use in a snowman craft, I took my 7 year old for a bang trim.  I came home and read the Bible to my 2 year old from her new Children's Storybook Bible.  I went over the entire Act 2 script of "Shrek the Musical" with my 9 year old - who has a lead role in the show in just 4 weeks.  I sat and played kissy face on the floor with my 1 year old.  I sent my hubby to bed at 6:45 because his eye pain randomly returned with a vengeance.  I was present.  I had enough.  It was barely enough.  But it was enough.  I'm sitting, writing.  I paid some bills.  I sent a few emails.  Tonight was good.

Now I am NOT implying that a birthday party is not worth my time.  I'm not implying we all should do away with them.  Heck, I've thrown some fabulously fun parties in my 9 years of being a mom to my 4 kiddos.  But I had to acknowledge the season we are currently in.  Acknowledge the capacity I currently have or don't have.   And swallow my pride.  

I've heard it said, "If satan can't make you sin, he'll make you busy."  Now that clearly isn't a verse in the Bible, but the underlying theme is so good. And so true.  Perhaps one of the greatest distractions and detriments in life is our own selves.  Our own schedules.  The thing that holds us back from being all that God designed and created for us to be, much of the time, is us.  Because somewhere along the road, we defined "busy" as "successful."  The busier we are, the more important we are.  The more things we're involved with, the greater we feel about ourselves.  On the surface, that is.  Because the busiest people I know, never feel great about the things they deem most important to them on paper.  They never feel great about the amount of date nights they get with their spouse.  Or the amount of play time they experience with their kids.  They never feel great about how much they are home to cook or how they tend to their house.  They never feel great about how much time they spend in the Bible and in prayer.  I know this, because I'm usually one of the busy ones.  And I know a lot of busy people.  From PTA moms to businessmen.  It's an unfortunate reality, but the more busy we are, the more things important to us tend to suffer.  No one likes to talk about it.  No one likes to admit it.  We like to appear like the plates are all spinning perfectly and effortlessly.  And yet no one can do it all.  We all need margin in our lives.  Space.  Time.  

What is it for you?  I have to assume I'm not the only one.  Where in your life do you need to cut back?  Trim?  Create margin?  What can go? I never would have thought my last baby's 1st birthday party would be in the category of "things that can go." But it was.  Sometimes things that are good in one season are not good in another.  Some things are not inherently bad.  They are just bad for now.  And just because something might be good and right for one person, does not make it good and right for everyone.  We all need to evaluate and come to our own conclusions.  No one knows you better than you.  No one knows your kids better than you.  No one knows your marriage better than you.  No one is going to force you to slow down.  No, on the contrary... this world will ask you for more.  Ask for more of your time. More of your attention.  The pressure to join the race is fierce.  You are the one with your foot on the pedals.  Do you need to hit the brakes?   Jon and I had a little mishap with those pedals.  We pushed the wrong one.  We had been cruising along.  My hip felt better.  Jon's eye was feeling better.  Our kids were home on Christmas Break.  We began to breathe.  And instead of resting in the goodness of those things, we saw that as a green light to add more.  Instead of allowing the good to fill our tanks, we saw it as an opportunity to use those newly deposited drops on something else.  Giving away what little we had just been given.  How embarrassing.  How immature.    

Since it's only January 6th, I feel like we're still close enough to the New Year to have a do-over.  2014 can be different.  It will be different.  Today, we hit the re-do button and it was big and embarrassing and smart and empowering.  Awesome.  I want to be the best expression of Deanna Ramsay as possible.  Mom, wife, daughter, friend...   Hitting that button just felt like a step in the right direction.

Oh, except now I need to go return all this:


I figure it's a small price to pay for the best birthday gift I can give my sweet Reese: Me.


  1. Loved it! As a fellow "non crafter", I can't even figure out Pinterest! LOL! :)
    God bless you! Enjoy your peace and non-stressed out celebration of Reece's birthday!

  2. Absolutely right on. So well-said, Deanna. And what a gift you've given your gorgeous girl by being honest and giving her your true face- you are indeed putting her first. Thank you for sharing. I think THIS is the message particularly needed for us busy, busy, busy Christian Moms- we've bought the lie that doing more (attempting to do it in his name!) is a good thing. Jesus is so proud of you for listening to his whispers- well-done. I have a wise friend, Cherie, that shared with me this mantra: Nothing more is required of me than that which I can do in union with God. xoxo

  3. Perfect Deanna. So convicting and real. I too am a busy busy and I don't like it. I am trying to accept that what is working for some doesn't have to be what works for me amd I'm not failing if I say I can't do that right now cause I need to be more present wih my kids, hubby, home, etc. Thanks, Luv ya!

  4. Thank you for this! What a wake up call for me.. JUST when I needed it!!! I think this is a VERY REAL struggle for a LOT of us. Some of us are afraid to admit it, and others of us may not be ready to see it. When my kids are older, I want them to look back, not at the parties, and events, and things.. I want them to remember the time we spent TOGETHER making priceless memories & the way that made them FEEL.

  5. saw this through a friend on fb - you did absolutely the right thing. It takes uncommon strength to back down and admit that you can't actually handle EVERYTHING. I wish you the best, keep your chin up sweetie.