We live in a culture of customs. Birthday parties, Sweet Sixteens, Engagements, Weddings, Baby Showers… And each one comes with its own traditions that define it. Cakes, diamond rings, tossed bouquets, tiny clothes and tea sandwiches… This is good if you value tradition, but if you’re more of a trailblazer it can feel restricting and uninspired. This letter from Madi Williams says it all. She wrote:
“Lisi, did u have a sweet 16 party? Are they all they are cracked up to be. Cuz this girl (mean girl) in my spanish class is all like “I’ve driven before, I’m having a sweet 16 party and…..”
Me: (mentally) no one cares. But honestly I do care, I mean people are having the time of there lives and I’m not there! So what do I do throw a party of my own or what? I mean you are kinda an expert in this area. My ideal bday is Sixbucks and shopping with my mom, but the girls at my school don’t care about that. The bigger and flashier the party, the better.”
Madi, I did not have a Sweet 16. It wasn’t really my thing (Read: my parents thought it was unnecessary). But I will say there is no gaping hole in my life as a result of that. I do understand the pressure you are feeling to fit in and keep up so I will present you with three options. Each one is designed to honor your TRUE wish (shopping and Sixbucks with your mom–LOVE IT!) while helping you find a way to make it your own.
S&S with your mom. Get a hotel room and invite your closest friends to sleep over and hang with you. Put a sign on the door that says SUITE 16 and live it up. Swim in the pool, get room service, use a new towel every time you wash. Have a blast with the girls you love instead of trying to throw a party for a bunch of people who don’t matter.
S&S with your mom. Is there a charity you love or a cool trip you want to raise money for? What about a car? Start training to run, ride, walk, hop, roll… sixteen miles. Have your friends meet you at the finish line and have a party outside. Instead of gifts ask for donations to your cause. It would be fun to team up with a friend for this one.
S&S with your mom. That’s it. It’s all you want. OWN IT! (Ask her if you can buy an extra outfit if you don’t have a party. Think of the money she’ll be saving. She can’t say no to that.) Then wear that outfit to someone else’s Sweet 16 and BREAK HEARTS!!!
Let me know what you decide.