21 January 2014

Of Garden Parties, Girls and Great Expectations

This is not exactly the post I imagined when we planned our Garden Tea Party, Miss Fab and I. In our minds this would be an echo of the day we had two summers ago. Mosquito nets hanging from trees, sunlight filtering through leaves, girls lounging on cushions nibbling cupcakes, sipping grapejuice.

It would be pretty, it would be pinnable, it would be the perfect way to spend a summer's day.

Just one problem: nobody told the weatherman.
The day that had been promised was sunny and warm.
The morning that dawned was grey, windy, unappealing.
Not what we had in mind at all.

But heigh ho, right? Roll with it, revise the plans, enjoy the day anyway.
Since we are now veteran party planners, you'd be forgiven for thinking a certain creative nine-year-old would be an expert at flexibility, and going with Plan B.
But no.
A grey windy day when "sunny and summery" was envisioned would not cut it AT ALL.
There was wailing. There were tears.
"Cancel it! Tell them not to come!" sobbed a dramatically perfectionistic young Miss.

Daddy had a great idea for Plan B. Under the grapevine. We could still string up mosquito nets and scatter cushions. It could still be lovely, it could still be fun.
But the young hostess was not buying it. Time was running out til the guests were due and action must be taken so I tried my best to ignore her misery and plowed ahead with the preperations. I stoically pegged up mozzie nets and bunting, spread camp mats and scattered cushions, all the time thinking: I need to help her learn this Lesson. Things in life don't always go to plan and flexibility is a skill she will need.

My daughter is very creative. She has always had brilliant ideas and bold plans aplenty, but sometimes reality can be just so very disappointing. All the way back to our very first Indian theme dinner which ended in tears because her "Sari girl costume" was not beautiful enough (she was four) the difference between what she imagines and what can be achieved has been causing us grief. Hmmmmm. We really need to help her deal with disappointment better. Manage her expectations better. 

She needs to learn that sometimes Plan B can turn out brilliant too. Life will be full of these moments, and if she doesn't learn to roll with it and bounce back, well... she'll end up always disappointed, never satisfied. Not a good way to be.

As you can see, Plan B did turn out to be brilliant. By the time the first guest arrived, the tears evaporated and the young hostess remembered the most important thing about parties: Having fun with your friends.

It doesn't matter if it's cloudy or if the decor is thrown together, or if sunlight-through-leaves might have been prettier in the photographs - what really matters is enjoying yourself with your pals (balancing cushions on your head while you eat, drink and spill stuff)...

So this might not have been the pinworthy post I'd envisioned when we called up Miss fab's friends and invited them over for an impromptu garden tea party... but it turned out to be better. Valuable life lessons learned. Perfectionism pushed aside. Disappointment discarded. Plan B embraced.

In the end the weather didn't matter; though the rain held off. There was plenty of giggling and silliness and great fun was had by all. Which is what really matters after all.

Our Easy Impromptu Garden Tea Party Menu
  • easy vanilla cupcakes (my go-to cupcake recipe here)
  • in-season strawberries, plums, cherries (and marshmallows)
  • chips and dip
  • club sandwiches (made by my friend Linda, who came to keep me company; I made her Nespresso)
  • to drink: water coloured with a few drops of pink colouring or orange juice mixed with soda water
  • fancy sliced apples (cut across-ways and then remove core with mini cookie cutter; dip in lemon juice to prevent browning. Too cute and easy and gobbled up in minutes)
Serve it all up on your prettiest china; serve juice in goblets, sit on cushions, laugh loudly and long. 

More Garden Tea Party Posts

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