Saturday, March 1, 2014

"We're all quite mad . . ."

My eldest daughter turned sixteen years old. SIXTEEN. I'm struggling to figure out the math, because I'm fairly certain she was born only a couple of months ago. I could swear that just last week I was braiding her hair and helping her to pull on her boots. And now she's sixteen?

Many years ago, when I taught high school, I had a student who was one of four girls in her family. Her mother told me how the only birthday she ever "did big" was the sweet sixteen. She made it her life's work to surprise each daughter on her sixteenth birthday with a unique and fitting celebration. For her youngest daughter (my student), she rented a plane to circle over the school campus at lunch waving a huge banner behind it that read, "Happy 16th Birthday, Name of Girl." While the plane flew above, Mom arrived on the ground with an army of costumed helpers carrying huge bouquets of colorful balloons and enormous trays of freshly baked cookies that were distributed to any and all teenagers who desired a treat. We're talking a LOT of cookies, because over a thousand students attended the school. In the middle of it all, stood the princess for the day, enjoying her birthday attention and the gratitude of cookie-munching friends.

That day was obviously memorable, because I wasn't even a part of it, yet I recall it clearly. I had no children of my own at the time, but I filed a mental note to remember to celebrate my future kid's 16th birthday in a big way. Turns out, I had four children. All girls. No woman from my past, whose name I can't remember and whom I only met once or twice, is going to outdo me when it comes to a birthday celebration.


I've been planning my daughter's sixteenth birthday party for, oh, almost a year and a half. It started when we visited Disneyland back in October of 2012. As we were leaving California Adventure, my older daughters were sucked into the Mad T Party. Like rats following the Pied Piper, they were drawn by thumping music to a neon-lit area dedicated to teens for dancing and cavorting and laughing wildly. My husband and I were overwhelmed by the noise and colors, but the girls loved it.

When we got home, I set up a Pinterest board and started collecting ideas for a surprise birthday party. I now had a theme: Mad Hatter tea party. In the next couple of posts, I'll be sharing pictures of how I set up everything, and although a plane was not circling overhead, I must confess my daughter's sixteenth birthday turned out pretty great.

Dinner last night: tea sandwiches, punch, birthday cake

Exactly two years ago:

Exactly four years ago:


Katherine said...

This is awesome! It makes me want to do something amazing for my kids. However, they are all boys and I just have the feeling that 16 isn't quite as big a deal for boys. Is it 18? 15? I have no idea.

Unknown said...

Its a shame, this long silence from you, are you not doing the blog any more, or just that time has got in the way> >? I loved reading your blog and I am sure we all loved to hear the latest things, so hopefully you will find a little time soon and bring us all up to date..I hope that 2015 is being a very good year for you all. hugs from across the pond, Janzi