Twenty-two. That’s the number of kids’ birthday parties that we attended in 2018. The number doesn’t include those that we couldn’t make it to, adults and family members, and my own kids’ parties. While it’s no secret that I enjoy planning birthday parties for my own kids, I must admit that I love celebrating birthdays for all kids. Kids look forward to their birthday the entire year. Ask any kid about how old they are, and they won’t hesitate to tell you about when they turn the next age and how they want to celebrate. When my son was 4 years and 2 months, he told me he wanted to have a “blue speedboat party” when he turned five. Ten months later and guess what he had? Yup. A blue speedboat party. And he was in his absolutely glory.
On the day of his actual birthday, he knew it was his “special day” and you could see joy radiating from him.
My daughter’s next birthday is still five months away. She’s been wavering between wanted a horse party, because she’s obsessed with horses, or a cat party, because, as she says, “I don’t remember my kitty party when I was two. I have to do it again. Maybe I’ll have a horsie kitty party and the horsies can give kitties piggyback rides”. Maybe kid, maybe.
A lot of people dread the constant flow of birthday invitations that their kids receive. I love them though! Sure, the parties are time consuming, but there’s so much good that comes from them! I love the conversations that I get to have with my kids beforehand about what they like about their friend, what makes the person a good friend, and why they enjoy spending time around them. I love listening to their ideas for gifts and teaching them how to choose a gift based on what the recipient enjoys. I love seeing the pride they have when giving a gift and the joy they experience at a party spending time with others.
Experiencing the whole shebang with my children and through their eyes is amazing, but there’s so much more to enjoy. I don’t care how elaborate or simple a celebration is, a kid feels special on their birthday and at their party. They are surrounded by people they care about and who love them and are exuberant the whole day. I love taking in any details of a party, from the invitation to the venue to the activities to the chaos, all leading up to the end. Parents love nothing more than to see their kids being silly and having a great time, and that’s what having a birthday is all about! I don’t care if a kid has the perfect pinterest party or a frozen pizza with their family, the parents are doing that for *that* kid and to make the day important to them. To me, that’s what makes it so special and enjoyable; knowing that that child is being celebrated.
I’m not good at traditions; I am not motivated enough to start them and lack follow-through on continually doing things year after year. The one tradition I do have for my kids is that I make them a pancake breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner on their birthdays. We stick some candles in it and sing. I never thought much about it, but my son mentions it a couple times throughout the year. Something so simple translates to him “it’s my birthday and I get to do something special”. I didn’t realize until last year how much my kids look forward to having a specific number or shape balloon and numbered candle for their birthdays. They talk all year long about how when it’s their birthday they will get those things for their party and on their pancake. It’s amazing the tiny things that take next to no effort that kids remember, cherish, and look forward to.
This weekend we get to attend our first birthday party of 2019! (Sadly, we couldn’t make any of the previous ones). It took my kids a while to decide on the perfect gift, and although I’m not clear on their rationale, I think the recipient will like it, although the parents might not be so thrilled (sorry…but hey, at least it’s not slime). My husband and I also get to be adults— the term being used very loosely—this weekend to celebrate one of our friends. Win-win!
So happy birthday to all, and to all a good night!