I think Lupine was turning four the first time she had a tea party for her birthday. And every year since she's made the same request: a tea party with her dearest friends.
For a couple of years I remember wondering aloud, "Really, Lu? Are you sure you want another tea party?" But now I see how very Lupine it is, and a perfect way to celebrate another trip around the sun. And forever more Lupine's birthday will be inextricably interwoven with memories of fancy tea parties in my heart.
I think when she was small I was more concerned with making everything 'perfect', fun, and magical. Because you only turn four (or five, or six) once. Decorations, food, dessert, favors – I even remember wondering if we should plan activities for the kids to do during the party.
But I've mellowed with age and came to realize that there is no need for elaborate preparations. That if the party is small the fun takes care of itself.
And so our preparations were simple. We hit the flea market for a vintage tea cup for each friend (yes, the day before the party), and then Lupine set to work on setting the table. A 1970's bed sheet from my fabric stash for a tablecloth, some old dishes from our camper, a hand-me-down tea pot from my sister. Oh, and those three pretty vintage cups. Add a plate of sliced veggies with goat cheese and mini hot dogs, then finish with some homemade ice cream and lots of toppings. Easy-peasy.
I think our entire party budget was under $20 if you don't count food (and even with food it was easily under $50).
Less is more. Less is more. Less is more.
Honestly, this year's big and thrilling addition was a set of paper umbrella toothpicks that Pete brought home from the grocery store. And I mean really. If you keep things simple enough, toothpick umbrellas are a huge win. I like that. A lot.
In the end, she had a wonderful, simple, oh-so-Lupine celebration.
I can't imagine it any other way.