I throw my arms up in the air sometimes singing, “ayo, I need a break-o!”
This is one of those times. Mary Tyler Son has a New Year’s birthday. January 2 to be exact. It kind of sucks. The holidays are hard on families that are missing a child. There is all this call for cheer and family togetherness, except we will never be completely together again, and we will never be so naively cheerful a familiy as we were before cancer. We know too much.
Mary Tyler Son gets caught in the crossfire of that a bit, but we work hard to protect him. So not only is his birthday — such a lovely event in a child’s life — on the heels of Christmas, but it is on the heels of Christmas within a grieving family. Poor kid.
Last year, his second birthday, we threw a sweet party on his actual day. It was lovely, really, but hard on us. Mary Tyler Dad and I host a New Year’s Eve party at the hospital where Donna was treated, so there are lots of preps for that. On New Year’s Day, we ran around like banshees cleaning out the clutter of Christmas, and on party day we had a knock-down drag-out fight about a cake.
That’s right, a cake. A dinosaur cake to be exact.
Mary Tyler Dad and I don’t fight very much. We’re simpatico like that. There is a noticeable lack of drama in our home that we value immensely. So on party day, we had “creative differences” about the dinosaur cake we were making for our boy. It was my vision, but I needed Mary Tyler Dad’s skill to execute. Well, he had his own vision, and the fight ensued. Yeah, it wasn’t pretty. In the end, we got through it, but I think that damn dinosaur cake made an impression on us both.
This year Mary Tyler Dad, the King of kitchen DIY, didn’t raise an eyebrow when I suggested we have Mary Tyler Son’s birthday at his favorite restaurant, a local grill. An eyebrow was raised when I suggested we have a bakery cake, but that was more about his New England thrift than a bakery cake.
We’re beat. Both of us. He is working, I am working. I’ve got this new Pinterest addiction to manage (that takes time, yo), and we still haven’t finished the deholidification process after Christmas. Embracing our limitations, we are outsourcing the birthday party. First time ever.
It is actually a bit thrilling, this outsourcing thing. The grill will cook, the bakery will bake, we will show up and celebrate. I got some things to decorate the restaurant to satisfy my inner Martha, and I’ll rope Mary Tyler Dad into that to include his inner Stewart. There is the joy of gift bags for the little ones. I get to feel excited about those, rather than oppressed by another responsibility.
Truth be told, I’m looking forward to this outsourced event. And, hey, we’ll also be supporting two local businesses we love, so take that, sucky economy!
Here is to keeping the joy and outsourcing the stress. Happy 2012, folks! Happy birthday, Mary Tyler Son!