Last week I was making my to-do list for Charlotte’s first birthday party. This was coming on the heels of a weekend spent teaching for a student girls retreat and a money talk Matt and I did for a marriage class. Add in the usual laundry, meals, dirty diapers and three-year-old antics, and, like many of you, I was running on fumes and very little sleep.
So, Thursday morning I took a glance at my to-do list for the party, realized only one thing was marked off and started panicking a little. A couple months prior we had decided to have her party at the pumpkin patch. It would be easy with lots of fun activities to keep the kids busy, and it wasn’t expensive. This plan sounded brilliant. Of course, every time I plan a big event I tell myself I’m going to keep it simple, but then somehow Pinterest and my Type-A personality get involved and the whole thing starts to overwhelm me.
The stress was mounting and I knew it was time to get cracking on this list. I got the girls in the car and headed to Costco. But before I unbuckled my seat belt or turned off the car, I told myself, “Elissa, you do not need to be perfect. All that matters is that Lottie has fun, that the people who come have fun and that you have fun. Give up the quest for perfection. It will rob the day of fun.”
I could feel my heart rate slow down, and the girls and I headed into Costco. I ditched my homemade smash cake plan and, knowing my girl loves all things pumpkin, grabbed the world’s largest pumpkin pie for $5.99. I abandoned my plans for homemade cupcakes with fancy cupcake wrappers and walked over the counter to order a sheet cake. I felt like the sugar fairies were in support of my store-bought sanity when I saw the seasonal design featured a giant pumpkin. Score! When I got home, I I called Chick-fil-A to order a nugget tray, threw the six ingredients for corn dip in a bowl and then into the fridge and happily checked 3/4 of my to-do list off.
Homemade is wonderful but sometimes store-bought is even better.
Don’t get me wrong… I love homemade. Just last week, Lydia and I made an apple pie from scratch. We were both covered in flour (as was our kitchen) and it took us hours to finish, but we had the best time together. But sometimes, store-bought is just as great. Sometimes store-bought keeps our sanity intact and focus on what matters. Sometimes we need permission to let go of perfect and choose present.
I know ten years down the road I won’t remember what her cake looked like or what we ate or even what the decorations were, but I’ll never forget those blue eyes sparkling as she stuffed pumpkin pie and chocolate cake in her mouth. Or as she stuffed it in mine.