iStock_000023041207Large_wideThe countdown has begun:

In just 33 days, my baby turns 1 year old.

Whaaat?! I’m pretty sure I just found out last week that I was pregnant, so there’s no way I’m about to have a one year-old.

Alas, it’s true, and the party-planning has begun. Once upon a time, I probably would have planned every detail and gone over every bit of the plan ad nauseam with everyone involved. But truthfully, this kind of snuck up on me. Around Christmas, I realized I needed to start thinking about his birthday, but shoved it to the back of my mind because I was in denial. A couple of weeks ago, I finally caved and started thinking about some details.

Etsy and Costco helped me with invitations; very cute and very inexpensive. Our original location idea was booked so we found another place, and I quietly cursed the fact that if you want a for-sure location, there is no such thing as a free birthday party in public anymore. We chose Armstrong Woods in the picnic area, and will stick with an outdoorsy/animal theme to go with it. Decoration rules there are very strict so already my work is cut in half, but the few decorations I’ve accumulated have all also come from Etsy. I’ve got a cake lined up, we’ll make it a BBQ/finger foods deal, and that’s it.

My best friend, a mother of three kids aged 8, 4, and 2, gave me great advice today: “Just BE in the day. Delegate to other people so you can just sit down and play with that sweet non-baby on his birthday, because all he’s going to want is his Mommy and Daddy to hang out with him and, like everything else, it goes way too fast.”

He’s turning 1. He will not remember if all the decorations got put up correctly, if the invitations looked perfect, or if the veggies were cut into equal sizes. He won’t remember any of it, sadly. What will stick with him, far back in the deepest reaches of his consciousness, was a day where he was shown all the love he deserves, where he felt joy and love and contentedness with his family and friends.

That’s all I’m going to worry about: spending time with my birthday boy, and celebrating that we actually made it through a whole year. Cake and decorations be damned (but pleeease let the cake be good).

Are you a big party planner? Is your kids’ birthday a huge affair, or are you more on the low-key side?

-Stephanie Ansley