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A Springtime Flower Party

It feels a tad weird to be writing about Springtime and flowers while currently traveling through winter weather, but Spring has already sprouted in our southern home: trees budding, wildflowers sprinkling the highways, songbirds chirping at sunrise. As Rilke wrote, “It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.” And so we celebrated our youngest songbird’s eighth birthday with flowers and friends, two of her very favorite things.

To keep birthday experiences simple for our home, our children only have the option for a birthday party on certain years, a year when they can opt for a party experience with friends as their gift from me and Mark. So when they choose a party, I tend to make the details special, something they will enjoy and something to remember. Olive and I had several conversations about what type of party she wanted, which left me feeling she should consider event planning one day, as they were all such large-scale, fun ideas. In the end we opted to recreate a flower market experience and allow each friend space to make their own arrangement. Blythe thoughtfully painted a sign for Olive to hang in her shop.

Since our backyard is currently a mesh of backyard projects and renovations, I asked a dear friend if I could host the party on her beautiful property in the country. We don’t have a flower market at our farmer’s market, but they are one of my favorite things to enjoy when we travel.

When the girls arrived, they each had a spot at the table, marked with a paper doily, mason jar vase, drinking glass, and paper-lined basket for little nibbles. They each perused and gathered from the flower market (set up with a lemonade stand) and returned to their spots where they had access to scissors for trimming stems and various colors of string for decorating their vases (and for marking their personal arrangement). We talked about the importance of flowers and pollinators in the world, a repeat conversation from our homeschool group’s flower study the week before.

Once the girls finished making flowers, they sipped Italian soda and filled their baskets with berries and popcorn. We sang happy birthday to Olive with mini lemon-filled cupcakes, and she opened gifts and read thoughtful notes from friends, many of which included bubble gum. The girls each filled and stamped small envelopes with wildflower seeds to take home and grow their own cutting gardens.

Although the party created quite the mess, it was a simply, beautiful way to celebrate the season. For those of you interested in hosting your own (even for adults!), here are a list of materials I used. for younger girls, it’s best to have a few extra set of adult hands available for helping tie knots and cut difficult stems. For older girls and adults, create a bit more time for the art of arrangement with helpful tips, such as how to choose colors or arrange by height and spill. Consider the audience ages and their attention span/interest levels. Most of this group preferred to simply jump right in! Either way can be fun. Enjoy!

MATERIALS TO CREATE YOUR OWN SPRINGTIME FLOWER PARTY

eight.

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We pierced your ears last weekend, a gift and milestone for your eighth year. You sat straight and still, without so much as a flinch, a picture of your unwavering personality.  Blythe, you have an affinity for beauty and detail in everything, whether the clothes you select or the way you arrange the things and people around you. Although you are playful and giggly, you have a seriousness about your goals, about accomplishment. I so much enjoy seeing the person you are becoming, hearing the dreams and beauty in your perspective. May you always be brave with the things in your heart, sweet girl. We love you so. Happy birthday.

eight.

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Burke, this evening at 10:36 you turned eight. Even now, as I listen to your unrestrained laughter with friends in the other room, I can scarcely believe it. Eight years. Just. Like. That. Most mornings, you still meander into our bedroom to snuggle, letting out a deep mumble of “good morning,” and I hold you near to me as though you are still that tiny six pound baby I’m meeting for the first time; only now your limbs stretch almost as long as my own and there’s no sign of stopping them yet.  Some days I glimpse your teenage face peeking through, and at once I want to laugh and cry. But today you’re eight — as in more than the days that make up a week or the size labeled on my shoes — and I want to wrap you up in these words so I can do what time itself won’t allow — savor your childhood sweetness.  At seven, you developed a love for basketball and football and wearing your fuzzy hat. Sometimes you even sleep in this hat because as you tell us, it keeps your head warm, although I think you just like the way its soft fur snuggles you. You still love to read and have jumped into the Tolkien world along with your brother, at times voluntarily memorizing some of the poems or dwarves’ songs, and I’m grateful in these moments that you don’t feel criticized by your peers for your curiosity or passions. You of course have more than enough of both. Burke, you have always taught me how to observe the natural world with patience and tenderness, sometimes by gently holding a bumble-bee or laughing at the squirrels playing in the trees; you climb trees and run shirtless daily exploring. Sometimes you get so upset your voice reaches the highest pitches as if trying to break everyone else’s hearts over your own. I couldn’t possibly recreate it. Yet other times you cannot contain your guttural laughter. You love telling jokes, and lately have been creating your own. We must at times seems confused because you always cue us with smiles and laughs to show us when it’s our turn to laugh. Ha! Turning eight  — as in eight blinks and you’re already halfway to driving. What will you discover this year? I don’t know, but let’s find out tomorrow. Today, we stop to celebrate your birth with donuts and a backyard fire and a s’mores cake and friends sleeping over and Return of the Jedi playing on the living room wall and blueberry pancakes to end it all tomorrow. Then we’ll see what else there is. I love you, my “dessert-atarian.”