I want to have a Valentine’s Day party, my nine year old daughter says. I sigh. It is late at night. Can we revisit this in the morning? I ask. Okay, she replies.
The next morning, she begins planning. Homemade sugar cookies. Bowls of icing and sprinkles. Painting ceramic mugs. We set a small table with a flowered tablecloth. Tiny cups. Flowers floating in crystal bowls. As items are added to the table, she grows more and more excited. I am going to shower and change into a party dress, she announces. Then I will invite my friends.
Over the last seven years, my family has made friends with many nearby children. We never know what each day will bring. Today, the weather is bitterly cold. It is the easiest thing in the world to bring out the tables and chairs scattered all over the house and put them together in party configuration. I let my daughter take the lead in party planning since she has a much stronger artistic eye than I do for decorations and activities. She loves to give to other people, and to enlist her younger siblings in her efforts. And each time? She visibly grows in confidence.
Kathy Zucker is an international social media Shorty Award winner, mother of three and a startup founder at companies including the Metro Moms Network®.