The Best Birthday Party Ever

She only had one wish. Our youngest’s 12th birthday approached and she repeated her request constantly. I want to invite all my friends to my party.

You can’t invite ALL of them. Our house won’t hold everyone you know.

But it’s all I want! And I don’t want any presents! We can ask people to donate to Northwest Children’s Outreach. P-L-E-A-S-E Mom and Dad??? It’s for CHARITY!

Seriously. How could we argue with that?
Let me re-phrase. 
How could we argue and win with that?

Luckily, we’ve got an “in” with the pastor of our church. And by “in” I mean, we are friends and his kids would be invited to the party. He let us use the church building for the event.

Hmmm. Birthday party or youth group? Same thing.

51 guests showed up at this kid’s celebration. Not bad when over 20 couldn’t make it due to other conflicts. Annika knows a lot of people. But my daughter is NOT the reason this was THE BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY EVER.

The reason this was THE BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY EVER is because Annika received the most valuable gifts possible: Love, Compassion and Friendship.

Kids showed up yesterday because of community. There weren’t air-pumped slides, laser-tag games or swimming pools. Over four dozen kids played board games, danced, sang karaoke, watched a movie and ate a ton of sugar. Yet, no one got out of control. They respected each other and the space we occupied. They brought LOTS of donations for needy teenagers in our community. The group radiated love.

(Okay. These kids would never admit this party was a big love fest, but truthfully, watching them all appreciate each other is so refreshing!)

As the event ended, parents asked how we’d top this party for Annika’s 13th. I told them this was a one time deal. Though after further contemplation, maybe we’ll make it an annual event. After all, how often do you attend a party where everyone – the hosts, the guests, and the community – benefit from the kindness of teens and tweens? 

I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

What look like a bunch of presents…

will actually go to less fortunate teens before school starts in the fall.
Annika’s friends rock!


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