This weekend is my daughter Violet’s 6th Birthday Party. Do you know how many of Violet’s 5 birthday parties I can remember? One. Her 5th. That was the first I’d experienced as a non-drinker. The rest? Blacked out, spewing, blacked out. Parties extending well past the 12 – 2pm allotted time slot. Parties where suddenly its 8pm and someone is ordering pizzas.
Was my first sober kids party all sunshine and rainbows and unicorns and stress free? NO IT WAS NOT. It was a stupidly organised drop and run at a playground in a very open place and I did not want to lose anyone’s child. Then there’s the all-night cake decorating, the party bags, the pass the parcel (Lucky’s Dad’s rules? Yes please!), helping the kids that doesn’t want to be there, putting out all the spot fires, dealing with the sugar crashes. But that’s kids birthday parties for you. They are not MEANT to be the equivalent of 3 hours at the day spa. They are meant to be loads of fun for a bunch of unruly ratbags (I mean kids).
But somehow, it has become the norm for alcohol to be another inclusion of the day. Why?
Because we deserve it?
Because kids parties are stressful and we need champagne to numb ourselves and make it through the day?
Because any excuse for a paaaaartyyy right?
Because talking to all those parents who you only know from day-care drop off might be a little easier with a little social lubricant?
I very specifically recall on the occasion of Violet turning One thinking, ‘OMG I made it through this first year! I survived! I deserve a drink.’ I then got socially excited and was spewing before it was even time for the giraffe cake.
I find big milestones like these to be a great opportunity to look back and reflect. I do not dwell on the things I’ve done wrong and get bogged down in guilt. I look at how far I have come, be grateful for the change that has improved my life so immeasurably. It’s so easy to compare versions of the same day and see which one wins.
This weekend Violet turns 6. There’s going to be a princess cake, fairy bread, games, a slip & slide and all the chaos that comes with the day. But instead of being hyper focused on whether or not there’s enough Aperol Spritz made up I can concentrate on making some good memories, hopefully making up for some of the lost ones ?