I struggle with the aftermath of every party. Sure, there is the general cleanup grumble of what to do with all of the dishes, garbage, etc. and luckily my family is awesome about helping with all of that. It’s the actual “dismantling” that gets me down. Every time. Like a grey cloud after a sunny day, I feel an inexplicable gloom threatening to turn me into a permanent Eeyore, slowing me down, pulling me into myself, with a tinge of sadness. Melancholy is the more precise word I’m looking for.
I usually go about my business and pack everything up. Slowly. A drawn out process that feels meditative but leaves me drained. And still, I trudge through it – usually. This time, I am giving the feeling the full attention it deserves because I’ve come to the realization of what makes this so difficult for me. I know it’s not the dip in energy after the extreme “high” of putting it all together and running around “entertaining” kids and families. I am by nature an enigma – an “introvert” who thrives in social butterfly settings. So I totally dig having everyone over, running around, creating.
Anyway, I have finally put my finger on what it is about this process that brings me down: it’s the process of putting magic back into a box.
You see, I live in this self-imposed zone of meaning, symbolism, and metaphor. So, of course, I find meaning in everything, and silly parallels often lead to deep reflection in my world. This process, of putting away the magic, always leaves me thinking about how we are constantly battling the stifling of our magic in subtle and obvious ways. For the sake of responsibility, practicality, and even survival, we put our magic in a box and go about our daily lives. Some of us live a huge part of our lives in that dance between the joy of expanding our magic and the frustration of being forced back into a box; like a “Jack In The Box” popping out every so often, but finding ourselves forced back in to the box, and attached to the box in so many ways.
Given all of that, some might even ask, “Well, why bother?” Good point.
There is something about inviting folks over to unleash their magic even for a couple of hours in the form of a kid’s party. Creating that setting that evokes a sense of wonder, sometimes expressed in the form of a simple “wow.” It’s more of an offering, really. An invitation for each guest to play and participate in that magic – and even take some away with them.
So, I’ll keep doing this to myself not because I’m a masochist, but because some of us need that “exposure therapy.” We need to recall that sense of wonder, and be reminded of that glitter, the whimsical scheme, the color, and of the beauty in the mess of life. I’ll admit, as intentional as I am, the effect may be subtle but it’s a start. And, for the three little girls I am raising, it’s a huge part of the memories they will carry.
After, writing out my sorrow of putting away the magic, I’ve also come to the realization that I don’t live there anymore – in that place where I allow my magic to be stifled and confined into a box. That’s a good feeling, and in that, I find the peace I need to lift myself up from the gloom, acknowledging that the magic is never really gone.