With tomorrow being the last day of March I realize that I’m now only 6weeks from officially knocking on 30’s door. My birthday has never really meant anything to me in the way it does to others; it’s never been a wild party, and has absolutely never been about presents. I'm a simple woman. I don’t like having a lot of things because to me ‘things’ don’t mean anything--family does. In my family, birthdays means that you picked out the dinner & cake you want and the whole family comes over, hangs out, gives a few gifts, maybe watches a movie and just enjoys celebrating that life is better since the day you arrived in the world.
Since 2008 my birthday has meant something else: that I have 3 months and 4 days to figure out what I’m doing for my son’s! And while I know its fashionable to throw giant themed parties for kids I just can’t bring myself to do it for several reasons:
1.) He’s too young to remember it. It sounds terrible, but really, if I’m gonna spend all that money and go to all that trouble I want him talking about it for a while.
As it stands now he barely remembers what happened 3 minutes ago.
2.) He’s the youngest by several years. I have three siblings--only one of which has children, whom are 16 & 7… pleasing a range that wide is difficult and three isn’t much of a party.
3.) All his little friends are at ‘school’ and they have a party for him there, AND
4.) He’s really easy to please at this age, a new Go Diego Go dvd or some more animal toys and he’ll forget about all of the guests and pretty much everything else save for the cake!
Now, does this mean it’s just another day? Of course not! I intend to keep with the family practice as far as celebrating birthdays with one upgrade: on top of picking out the meal and the cake and such, I intend to let him choose an outing. Lucky it’s in the middle of August, with great weather and tons of things to do (especially outside).
Like I mentioned before, I’m very simple and extraordinarily easy to please, and nothing would thrill me more than if my son turned out the same. So of course I’m going to try to stack the deck in my favor! Teaching him that things aren’t as important as relationships and experiences is going to be key to the ‘operation’s success.’ Hence the excursion upgrade to the birthday tradition.
Taking him to new places to do new things not only marks his birthday in a way that’s fun, or celebrates his growth & development but forms ties to places and experiences rather than objects. His birthday memories won’t be “I had a party, this year I got this, last year I got that, the year before I got the other thing,” it’ll be “This year I went to a water park and rode the big slide all by myself, and last year we went to the zoo and I rode a camel, the year before we went camping and I saw an eagle and mom fell in a huge mud puddle!” Not just an inventory and guest list, but REAL memories... And that’s before you add the annual trip to the emergency room and his latest assassination attempt on me! The year he was born I couldn’t feel my legs for 2 days, his first birthday he shattered a mirror over us and I got glass in my eye (he didn’t have so much as a scratch) and last year whilst saving him from an inadvertent suicide jump from a jungle gym I destroyed my right foot and ankle.
All that is SO much better than a bunch of toys he'll grow out of by the next birthday!!