OK, hold onto your hula hoops here folks, I've got a whopper of a news flash for you -- I am not perfect. In fact, most of the time I'm barely meeting the minimum requirements for mom, wife, business owner and budding Planeteer. Now, personally, I'm used to this "lowered bar", if you will, but I totally got called on my eco-skills this past weekend during young Ethan's 4th Birthday Bash.
I was setting up the room which included assembling Ethan's pirate-themed cake that I got at Krogers (I tried to upload a picture of it, but Blogspot wouldn't let me). Anyhow, the cake is shaped like a pirate ship, complete with upper and lower decks, mast, mainsail, crows nest and jib. It also had accessories including a cannon, treasure chest and four or five burly pirate figurines. All made out of cheap plastic, most likely coated with lead paint and imported from China.
One of my friends who knows about my "covert greening operation" gave a smirk and a nod and asked "Hey, are those all made of recyclable plastic?". ::Me Blushing::
Of course they weren't. And that wasn't the worst of it. I had bought and inflated 12 plastic balloons... I filled goodie bags with plastic eye patches, whistles, coins and telescopes... I served cake on disposable plates with plastic forks... I handed out juices in individual serving plastic pouches...and the big secret shame -- I bought my son several plastic toys including a Vtech Learning Laptop, a Robot Kit what appears to be a 1 million piece Lego set.
Now, I didn't set out to break a world record in plastic consumption that day. It just sort of happened. And it happened because I didn't plan. Time got away from me and before I knew it, the party date was looming close and I hadn't had the time to sew up a dozen pirate scarfs... or to a make a treasure map table cloth... or to think of using Ethan's 3x5 jolly roger flag for decoration... or to shop for educational, made-in-the-USA wooden toys.
So instead, about four days before the party, I did what any good mom would do. I panicked, hit the Party Source and bought anything I could find with a skull and crossbones on it.
Mea Culpa, my friends. My Bad. But you know what -- I actually have learned a lot from the experience.
I have learned that hosting a party for a bunch of four year olds ain't as easy as it seems. It takes planning and preparation to pull off a fun party -- and it takes more planning and preparation if you want to do it in an ecologically responsible manner.
I have learned that even those of us who are trying and have the best of intentions still screw up now and again. Sometimes unwittingly, sometimes knowing full well the consequences. But the important thing is that we keep on trying.
I have learned that all the daily changes I have made have a huge, cumulative, life long affect, and that the occasional transgression can be forgiven -- as long as the daily quest remains the same.
I've also learned that most of my friends are wise-asses. Oh wait, I already knew that.