Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On Tigers and Love

Among the Chinese, 2010 is the Year of the Tiger. And according to my random internet sources, people born in this lunar year are "capable of great love," but must "guard against being too stubborn." My event to toast the Tiger, a/k/a President's Day romper room with a Chinese twist, is now officially over.

Like it's honoree, this little Tiger party, conceived of and played out in 2010, came about due to some stubbornness, mostly on my part. Too stubborn to sit and stew with the kids on a less than balmy President's Day, and always eager to share this brand of misery with friends, I put the party on the calendar. A chronic procrastinator, I started thinking about what to do last Friday, bought supplies on Saturday, got weird flu like symptoms Saturday night and then worked like an elf on double overtime pay on Sunday to make ten copies of an internet wonder called the Crepe Paper Dragon. As the pictures below demonstrate, it was worth every hot glue gun burn and eye roll from my Hub:

Not visible in these pictures are the completely gracious, where's your cookie sheet, don't worry about it, I'll find it, friends.  These folks make me feel like it is absolutely reasonable, maybe even admirable, to pull an all nighter for a paper craft.

After the party, I sat in my living room easy chair, homemade lo mein noodles on the side table next to me, and nursed my goobering, teething, soaked through two onesies and a denim dress, baby. From that vantage point, I could view the tidied remnants of the party through the French doors of the dining room.  Those remnants included four oranges left behind after the others were sliced for lunch and luck; the red gold stamped fan that Dee and I made as a sample; and T's cute but forlorn felt tiger puppet whose barely affixed google eyes peered out from a whiskerless face. On top of the armoire in the hall, lay two crepe paper dragons, well loved by Dee and T, but barely recognizable after handling by someone other than a museum curator.

All in all, while stubbornness prompted this little shindig, it ended with some serious love. I'm feeling it now, the kind of validation adults seek out since the grownups of our childhoods stopped doling out field day ribbons. There have been many occasions in my life, and yours too, I imagine, where the hours you spent meticulously decorating the cake, or compiling and editing the anniversary photo album, or doing whatever else, went unnoticed or innocently forgotten simply because of the craziness of the day. Many times in my life, the take away thought and snarky comment later on the phone to my mom included "they didn't even appreciate my blah blah blah...."

This time, however, I was on the money - and my dear friends told me so - all while jostling babies, baking red dot almond cookies, picking up crumpled crepe paper in the front yard, and leading story time. And that makes all the difference, doesn't it? Validation, sweet validation, makes all that stuff that is usually so elusive - self confidence for one - part of us again for a little while.

For me, it gives me the freedom to be myself more often, like stay up most of the night to make a crazy craft because I like to do it, or to run out in the street with a pot lid and a spoon to make silly fireworks sounds for the kids' dragon parade. It feels good to let go, laugh, and to observe others delighting with you in a moment you created.

Yesterday, the delight of the day rolled over and around me like I was wrestling and cuddling with the kids on a wide expanse of super thick padded carpet, or at least on wet grass in a strange snowless winter. Take a look:

So...here's to many more moments of validation, love and friendship in 2010.  Cheers to the tigers, dogs, pigs (that's me), and all the other animal signs among us.  And a Happy New Year from my quarter Chinesers!


Anna See said...

WOW! You pulled out all the stops didn't you? Great job, and the pictures are adorable. I completely agree about validation.

mom2three said...

Love it! Amazing work there you a amazing women!!
I love the pics and your kiddoz are just adorable.

MommyOver40 said...

You're so fun and creative. Your little munchkins are lucky to have you. I'll bet the neighbors got a kick out of the parade!

Amy said...

Those dragons are awesome! You went above & beyond...as usual!

~Laura said...

This sounds like one great day! What a creative idea. The kites are adorable and your ideas sound awesome too! Most importantly, it sounds like your really enjoyed your day. What a feeling huh?!? So glad you had the moment to recognize it.

Anonymous said...

I love your pictures, looks like lots of fun.

citymouse said...

Awesome post. The times we get it right make up for all the others. You kids are so adorable, too!

JoeyRes said...

Happy New Year to you too! I'm impressed you did it all even while sick. You're a trooper (and also pretty stubborn)!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

That looks like a triumph--both crafty-wise and party-wise!

Ruth Branson said...

Here, here, to more moments of validation, love and friendship in 2010!

Though I felt exhausted just READING your post, it sounds like an all-out great day! I wish I could have been there.

How true that it can just feel sooo good to let your real self creep out once in a while...and to have that validated by those near and dear. Those are the moments to wait for.

Good on ya!


CynthiaK said...

My daughter has been learning about Chinese New Year and the various animals. I've been told I'm an ox. Not sure what that's supposed to mean. ;-)

Adorable photos!

Kate C. said...

You are my idol in so many ways! :) Love, love, love you.