Happy Birthday balloon

Well, the party’s over and man, this year, Cole’s birthday bash was a complete 180 from last year’s soiree. You remember what an elaborate affair last year’s party was, what with all the begging, pleading and planning that went into pulling off Cole’s “Minute to Win It” party for dozens of his classmates.  So what made this year so great? Three things:

IT WAS SMALL: Last year, Cole invited just about the entire 6th grade.  He won’t admit it but I think it was rooted, at least in part, by his desire to get as many gift cards as possible. But a couple of things happened this year. First, being that it was his 13th year, Cole went to a Bar or a Bat Mitzvah nearly every weekend for the entire school year (he’s a popular kid) and I think the poor boy was tuckered out. The other thing is that I think he understood the ‘quality over quantity’ concept. Cole ended up inviting five of his close friends (two were girls but they didn’t show up) for dinner, dessert, a rousing game of capture the flag (with the added element of “don’t step in Olivia’s shit”) and then a movie.  Everyone had a blast, including Cole’s parents.

COLE PLANNED IT ALL: Unlike last year where I did everything from the elaborate invitations to browbeating parents for the RSVP’s, I did nothing. It’s not that I didn’t want to help; Cole wouldn’t LET me. And when I dared pry (about important things like what time the party started, who was invited, what they planned to do), I got snotty teen ‘tude from him. That lasted until I told him I needed some details or his friends would be sitting around staring at empty plates and each other for hours on end. Cole’s party planning skills need a little work as he thought it was perfectly fine to have his friends come over at noon and stay until 11 pm. Yeah, uh, no.

THE FAMILY PARTY TOOK THE CAKE: And in yet another sign of maturation from my boy, Cole really seemed to enjoy the “family” party as much as the “friend” party. I guess this might have been because his actual birthday fell mid-week or maybe he was thrilled to have cake for dessert. But I’d like to think it was because he was sharing a special moment with the people who mean the most to him, though he’d be loathe to admit it. I guess Cole really is growing up. The best part is he learned how to make decisions on time, place, theme and put his plan into motion.  Were there things I would have done differently? Of course. Would he have learned as much if I had stepped in? No way.

I’d like to share photos with you but there are none. I could have snapped some but I didn’t want to be “annoying”  but you can see the video here, complete with my flat singing. In the meantime, I’ll just keep the images I have in my mind’s eye of my boy growing up, taking control and doing it his way!

But what about you; have there been instances in your parenting journey where you took a backseat to your kid’s efforts? What were they and what did you learn from the experience? And what did THEY learn from standing on their own two feet?