Sweet Sixteen: A Farewell To ChildhoodWritten by Glynis Neves
My oldest daughter turned 16 this summer. I don’t mind telling you that the thought sent a chill running through me. It wasn’t the thought of her driving that filled me with dread; it wasn’t even the thought of her dating that scared me (although it doesn’t thrill me), it was the thought of a Sweet Sixteen party.
Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to throw a party for my daughter, I just didn’t have the budget for a huge blow-out, and I really didn’t want to give my kids the idea that you have to spend a lot of money to have a good time. Luckily, one of my daughter’s best friends was turning 16 two weeks after my Katie, and they came up with the idea of a joint party. This thrilled me! Abi’s mother is an amazingly creative woman (and one of my besties!), so I knew that she would have some great ideas.
We all met together and made some preliminary decisions. We were pleased, but not surprised, to find that our daughters didn’t want us to spend a lot of money. They just wanted a time where their friends could come, enjoy some food and have a fun time together. Since the party would be in July, an outdoor party seemed made to order. The common area between our two houses was an ideal location (no rental fee made it even better). The girls came up with a color scheme, and we were on our way to a fun evening. The theme: “Sweet” Sixteen: a Farewell to Childhood.
Over the next few weeks, we all worked to create a great party. The girls designed invitations and took care of delivering them. My friend, Carol, worked on decorations, (you’ll see a post about them next week!), and I was in charge of activities/games. We would all pitch in on the food.
The day of the party all hands were on deck to set up. Brothers were on hand to help with the heavy lifting, and pretty soon the common area was looking amazing! An old door turned into a picture spot, there was an area set up for playing Frisbee Tic-Tac-Toe, and Lawn Twister. We had an area for hula hooping and bubble blowing, a trampoline was set up for more active fun. Closer to the house, some tables and chairs were set up for those who wanted a more quiet atmosphere. Centerpieces included jacks, yo-yo’s and silly string.
On 2 long tables we set up the food. On one we had a hot dog bar. We cooked the hot dogs in a crock pot, and then set up an array of toppings: chili, cheese, onions (raw and caramelized), mustard, ketchup, J Dawg sauce, and crushed Frito chips (a surprising hit!). We also had small crudite cups: a couple of inches of Ranch dressing in a cup with carrots, celery, peppers and cherry tomatoes.
The other table housed the “sweets” for the Sweet Sixteen. On one end was the cake; a masterpiece that my sister created for the 2 girls! It was darling! And on the other end was a chocolate fountain. In between were bowls of things that the kids could dip in the chocolate, or eat plain. We had strawberries, bananas, marshmallows, rice crispie treats, pretzel sticks, potato chips, licorice twists and many other choices. To wash all this down, we let them have bottles of water, decorated in the color scheme, and Crystal Light drops to add to the water to flavor them.
As the guests, arrived, Carol and I held our breath and crossed our fingers. Would the party be a success? Even though we hadn’t hired a band, or even a D.J., would the kids all have fun? Would they see the love and attention we had lavished on our girls? The answer was a huge YES! As the evening progressed, that common area filled with kids laughing, dancing and playing like the kids they really were!
When the sun went down, the kids settled on the lawn with slices of birthday cake to watch a movie (The Lion King… talk about your farewell to childhood!). As the movie played, we began to clean up and congratulate ourselves. We knew it had been a success when our girls each came to us with shining eyes and smiles that came from the soul, thanking us for the party. Carol and I exchanged tired grins. Sure, it would have been easier to write out checks and have a party thrown without lifting a finger, but by doing it ourselves we showed our girls how much they meant to us. To this mother, that is priceless!
Has someone you loved done something like this for you? What did it mean to you?
WE’RE HAVING A GIVEAWAY!!!
Carol and I have a lot of extras from the birthday party and we’d like to share them with you all. This giveaway will feature the following items that could be used for birthday parties, baby showers, bridal showers, or other special occasions:
20 Cello Treat Bags
Play Doh/Jacks sets
Blue Glitter Platter
3 Purple Mini Bins
Various Tissue Pom Poms
To enter this giveaway please complete the following steps:
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The giveaway will continue until September 12. The winner will be notified by email.
Stories have always been a big part of my life. I grew up in a very theatrical family, and learned the art of storytelling early on. I'm grateful to my parents for teaching me how to express myself through story. Now that I have 5 children of my own, I find that I use storytelling every day. I love it when my children say, "Tell me the story about..." or "Tell us about a time when..." These are the times when genuine connections occur, and in this day and age, we need all the connections we can get with our children.
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