Monday, October 5, 2015

A Word on Low-key Birthdays

Slowly working on her cupcake

Fun at the park

Enjoying the park with sister
Since Jane's birthday party, I have discovered the beauty of small family birthdays. Growing up I had a birthday party every year. I don't know how my mom did it.

Maurie turned one on September 10 and I was determined to keep it simple. I got online and was tempted to start planning a party that would take way too much time and effort. The mothers that plan elaborate parties for their one year olds either only have one child, find personal fulfillment in it or are gluttons for punishment.

I talked to my sister who went to a birthday party for a very young child and there were so many gifts that he or she said, "Am I done yet?" --referring to opening gifts. The child was literally throwing the gifts to the side as he opened them. As my sister told me this, I realized how excessive our lives can get. Gifts are certainly a sign of love and care, but when the child doesn't even care about the gifts, you know something is being overdone.

So...Cody and I bought Maurie new socks and a stuffed unicorn that she was partial to at the store. I wrapped them in tissue paper, made some cupcakes and we sang Happy Birthday to her. We also told Maurie the things we loved about her. She was happy as a lark and was thrilled with both the socks and the unicorn. She gave her gifts a hug and patted them, definitely a sign of approval. She eventually devoured the cupcake and we all had a stress-free evening that also included going to the park as a family. I felt like someone had just lifted a burden off my shoulders. My daughter felt loved; I had the time to show that love, and we all enjoyed each other. Wow, why had I made my life so hard with Jane's birthdays?

Now, don't get me wrong. I love a good, organized beautiful birthday, but for me and my house, we will be keeping it simple most years. I think there are a few birthdays that I will put in extra effort for, but family birthdays are lovely in their own right. I hope Jane is not too disappointed when she realizes that she may be just getting a new sibling for her birthday, a treat and a gift. She talks about cakes, balloons, surprises--a party that looks like something out of a Fancy Nancy book is more of what she envisions, but as long as she feels special and loved, I think she will forgive me.

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