I struggled a bit with this first birthday…ideas on how to keep it low key. I had fears of kiddos running out of my house with little baggies of plastic crap, all of it landing squarely in the landfill, and thousands of years from now having evidence of this birthday still not biodegrading. I never struggled with real post-partum depression about Finnegan, however, I do suffer now sometimes from a low grade pessimism about the state of mankind, and the universe. If I start to think about it too much, I feel like one of those fifth graders whose teacher shows them pictures of dead sea turtles and ugly beaches on Earth Day, which research has now shown only makes kiddos feel hopeless instead of inspired. I feel that way if I start to think too much on it. I do my small part, but it is so easy to feel as if your small part is too miniscule. The hard part is, change can only happen on an individual basis. The rearing of thoughtful children and the saving of the planet is a slow, arduous process that takes time and patience. So, what we ended up deciding on for Finn’s inaugural birthday into the world was a Cardboard Party…with a small burning man taking place afterwards to rid ourselves of the decorations. Besides, they say kiddos enjoy playing more with the boxes than they do the presents, right?
It turned out to be a huge success. We started with a tunnel built around the table, and a car to pull the babies around in. Stars hung from the ceiling, and the cardboard they were cut from was put in the windows, a two-fer decoration deal. His name was in the window, and each guest got to take a star home with them. It was certainly a birthday I could feel good about economically, as well as ecologically. I feel like I got Mother Earth Advocate points to add. Although we requested no gifts, we still got a bucket load. I’m open to ideas as to how to deal with this in future birthdays! Perhaps requesting everyone brings a bag of dog food to donate to an animal shelter, or a shell or piece of beach glass. I really am looking forward to years to come where Finn and I can brainstorm together. It’s not that I’m not grateful for the thoughtfulness; we simply do not need it. This year has been about downsizing…in a 950 square foot house, this has been more out of necessity, but has been a blessing in disguise. With added awareness comes more frustration, though…especially with a baby, and all the stuff that comes along with it.