When my daughter asked if she could have a birthday party when she turned nine, I panicked. Her birthday is three days before Christmas, my busiest time of year. (Arguably, anyone’s busiest time of year.) She couldn’t decide how she wanted to celebrate, but knew that she wanted to invite four or five friends and she wanted it to be cat-themed.

We decided on a party at home, decorating cat- and mouse-shaped gingerbread cookies (that I baked! okay, from a mix) making kitten ears for their party hats, and playing Pin the Tail on the Cat (that she designed herself.)

I spent two evenings after work baking dozens of cookies, and a good part of the week cleaning house. My anxiety mounted.

The little girls she invited were her self-described BFFs and it was the first time I’d met most of them. How different it is from when I was growing up and our parents knew every kid in class, their parents and their address. Each of the girls was polite, charming, funny and adorable. It’s reassuring when your kids pick nice people to be around.

In this age of Chuck E. Cheese and laser tag parties, I thought her friends might find this boring but was pleasantly surprised when one little girl chimed, “This is the best party I’ve ever been to!”

It might have been the best party I’ve ever been to, as well.







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