Tuesday, 4 October 2011

the best party ever

How warming are such words to a mother's heart!

Now I don't know whether it was the best party ever. What appeals to my nine-year-old daughter might not appeal to me. Or to you. But here are some reasons why I really enjoyed our party last Saturday.

1. It was a combined party. For reasons of sickness, busy-ness, tiredness and other programs on at college, we didn't celebrate either Sophie's or Bethany's birthday at the time of their actual birthdays. So when it came to the time of the birthday of one of their friends, her mother and I decided to throw all three of them a combined party. So we celebrated Irene and Sophie's ninth, and Bethany's seventh birthday. I liked this. It took all the focus off one person in particular. Even though it was her party, Bethany was thinking about giving gifts to Irene and Sophie.
2. All the girls at Talua came. Be they two or 16 years old, they all came. It was a great chance for me to get to know some of the older girls (to find out some of their names!) and they were a great help in looking after the younger children - especially organising them for games. Felt a little bit sorry for the boys, some of whom were hanging around looking mournful. Only a little. Thirty girls was enough for one party!
3. We played games. It was lots of fun. We played balloon games, relay games; we had sack races and egg-and-spoon races; there was even pass-the-parcel. There was so much laughing I was glad we'd made the effort to have games.
4. Balloon joy. I've never seen children so delighted playing with balloons. The memories of their faces will be with me for a long time. While the older girls were outside following the clues for the treasure hunt, little girls congregated inside. They sat listlessly for a while until the balloons were produced. Well then. The photo speaks for itself.
5. Help from the children. When they were little, the children helped because it was good for them. Now (at least, on occasion) their help is good for me. Sophie and Irene's sister, Polly, were a great help. They decorated, they organised a treasure hunt and they helped serve dinner. Thanks Sophie and Polly!
6. Help from Mama Luna This party was a joint effort. I didn't do it on my own. Irene and Polly's Mum, Mama Luna, and I did this together. So much stress was eliminated by having someone by my side who knows the right words to say to do little things like divide the children into teams for a game. Here, she is running the game we call "scissors". Children are blindfolded and given a pair of open scissors. They walk slowly towards lollies hanging on a thread. If they close the scissors and cut the thread, they keep the lolly. Othersies, it's someone else's turn. More fun.
7. Help from Grandma. Grandma made the cake and washed up. She's wonderful.
8. Butterfly Theme. Butterfly cake, butterfly decorations, butterflies on the invitations. Loved them all. The butterfly decorations (so simple) look great and are still up.
9. New Life. We talked about how the caterpillar changes into a butterfly and has new life. We talked about the new life we have in Jesus. Loved being able to do that. Hated that I still struggle in a different language.
10. Prayer. Mama Luna prayed for the three birthday girls and then for all of us. What a great way to celebrate.
11. Easy Food. What I love most about birthday parties in Vanuatu is that you don't need to stress about party food. As long as you have dinner together, that's all that's required. We had spaghetti bolognaise, chicken stew with rice, and yam lap-lap. There was lots of popcorn, and of course, cake. There was enough cake for everyone to have a BIG piece and to take a piece home for their mothers (don't you love that?!).
12. Pinyata. I've made two pinyatas in my life. Neither have worked the way I think they should, but I've never seen a real one. The first was 20 years ago at Beach Mission and this one was the second. It was hilarious. We had so much fun. I have some ideas of how I'd improve it for next time.

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