You know how it is when you're three.
Every pint-sized person you cross paths with is your friend. The kids at preschool, the ones you swim beside at lessons and twirl beside in ballet class. All of them, true friends.
Our youngest daughter—the least shy of our lot—takes this to the extreme.
She would move every friend into our house if she could. The more the merrier, as far as she's concerned.
So planning her fourth birthday, and her first more-than-just-family party, put us in a bit of a situation — we don't live in a stadium.
School friends, dance friends, family friends?
I kept tossing around the logistics, until JB finally said Why don't you just invite your friends?
Thanks to some beautiful fate, a handful of my womenfolk had daughters around the same time as me. We get together often, and we rely heavily on one another for support (and humour) over coffee cups and smartphones (hello, texting!).
Every one of them, and their daughters, have spent time in our home.
The party was a success because of the people who came, yes, but it couldn't have happened without the talent and enthusiasm of women in my community (and greater parenting village).
I want to take some time, and space here, to thank them.
We had already settled on a My Little Pony themed party. The franschise's motto that friendship is magic made a lot of sense to me, when it came to pulling this day together.
Several months ago, I saw my friend Alexandria's post about her daughter's pony-inspired party. When the planning finally got underway, I emailed her to ask some questions and she offered to help me with some games. Just like that I had beautiful posters and wonderful ideas sitting in my inbox.
Then my creative friend, Dana, posted about her daugther's Doodlez Alive pony party and happily shared their information and her recommendation. Dana has an eye for beautiful things (really, go visit her blog) and I knew it would be a great group activity. I had hoped to capture a photo of all the kids and their pony creations, but they wouldn't stop galloping all over the place. Thankfullly, Doodlez Alive owners, Angela and Daniella, sent me this collage.
Next came the sweets for my sweetie. A friend of mine recommended local mom and baker, Lisa, from Little Cakes Bakery. She made these adorable (VEGAN) cupcakes, including a special Rainbow Dash for the birthday girl.
And while we're talking sweets, how was I supposed to resist these homemade cookies by The Sugar Gals, Leanne and Kerri - yet another duo of wonder moms from our community. They were custom-designed and smelled and tasted like buttery heaven. Watching the partygoers' faces when they saw them was priceless.
Long after the end-time on the invitation had passed, we sat laughing and drinking coffee, while the kids chased balloons and worked off their cupcakes. Two of my sisters and their kids were here, too. I was surrounded by my friends, whose children have become my daughter's friends.
I'm glad our kids saw us there together—they don't know how much we've carried each other through the sweet and sad moments, but they did see that we share a friendship, and I hope they will know the same unconditional acceptance in their lives.
As each of them headed to the door to say their good byes, we gave them a memento of appreciation.
Handmade by Joanne from Litterless Lunch Lady, these gorgeous snack bags with a Chapter's gift card and delicious pony cookie were well-received. In fact, one of the moms has since decided to use it for herself.
It hasn't been easy getting myself to this day. And JB had it right when he said I should surround myself with the friends who have been there with me and this little girl for the past four years.
Friendship really is magic.