My little darling, S, is turning 4. I sound like an old nana, but “where did the time go?” Already I’m reminiscing over her baby and toddler years as if every moment was sheer bliss. The past 4 years have been pretty great, but certainly filled with a good dose of “I’m going to pull my hair out! Someone please remind me why I thought this was a good idea???” Nostalgia is a strong, strong drug.
In my blissful daydreaming of all the “tranquil” time we shared together over the past 4 years, I decided to give into my preschooler’s strong desire for a Frozen themed party. It was a feel good day and I sang out “Yes!” only to question what I said “yes” to hours later when I couldn’t get her to gracefully exit a play date. Nostalgia wiped away and reality back in on its rightful shelf, I couldn’t believe that I had agreed to this theme party. Just the year before, I threw S a birthday party at a play space and when the lady asked me what the theme was going to be, I threw it back at her with a little bit of attitude: “Birthday party is the theme; she’s 3.” Like duh???
Just 12 short months later I am here to swallow my words. Disney themed parties epitomized so much of what I didn’t like in modern childhood: commercialization, inhibiting children to use their own imagination, and all the garish merchandise from princess costumes to pajamas. Then, my daughter saw Frozen for the first time in November 2014. She was instantly enthralled and would sing “Let it Go!” everywhere. Quite impressive for my shy little S. This Frozen phenomenon was allowing S to literally break free from her inhibitions and “let it go.”
By Christmas, I was sold and she received a healthy dose of Disney merchandise from Santa. Now it’s April and the birthday party she is so looking forward to is just a week ahead. She is telling everyone she sees at stores about it. I am speechless watching her talk to strangers. The fact that she can and wants to tell them is a huge sign of just how deeply excited she is about this party and movie.
S’s true love of Disney’s Frozen has created a deep shift in me and helped me “let it go” as a parent. After all, her Christmas presents and party are for her not me. It shouldn’t be my idealized Pottery Barn Kids setting that I think is perfect for a little girl her age. Celebrating holidays and birthdays is about that particular child. It’s about S and letting her choose what she likes and doesn’t like. It’s about letting go of control and enjoying the childhood fantasy that helps her play more.
Just yesterday Disney helped me “let it go” as S and I made the party favor bags for her party. In my head, I had a pretty design of blue snowflakes glued onto the white bags. In the end, after doing two by myself, I sat S down next to me, took out an extra glue stick, and asked her where we should put each snowflake cutout. We then bagged blue and white jellybeans together and I resisted telling her that some bags had more and that she should make them even. Ok, I couldn’t totally help myself and I did ask her why they were different. She gave me a solid answer. Can’t argue with that. She put all the goodies in the favor bags. At the end of the day, she told me that making the goodie bags was her favorite part of the day. Thank you Disney for giving Frozen to our family. It has helped my kids and me. Please forgive me party planning lady from S’s 3rd party. I didn’t understand the true magic of Disney and themes. As for her 4-year-old birthday party, I’m sure the nostalgia will kick in and when S is a few years older I will think what a great time we had and how good everything was.
Personal photo of our Frozen party favor bags