I am happy to report that with the celebration of my daughter’s third birthday last weekend our 2016 Birthday Season is officially over.
My children’s birthdays occur in almost consecutive months (April, May, and July). You can typically find me mailing out thank you cards for one party along with the invitations to the next. My kids don’t demand much other than they want to be celebrated and considering I grew up as part of a family where I always felt the coolest kid on the block for my birthday I get it. Birthdays are fun! Now, as a mom, I hold each of their birthdays as extraordinary events as they are anniversaries of times when I found a renewed sense of purpose. I remember these moments while viewing pictures taken of me with a swollen belly and then a teeny baby. I reread journals I wrote during the weeks leading up to each birth and through the exhausting first weeks home and can so hauntingly feel the same feelings of anticipation, joy, and contentment. My heart is usually a bit tender, but I am always so thrilled to celebrate my babies and how much we’ve grown together every year.
A lot has been written about birthday parties and the circular debate around the pressure and expectations for all of us to become professional event planners on behalf of our little ones. As most moms are aware, it has become trendy to throw big elaborate parties for children of all ages. The dawn of Pinterest has made it easy to find fun and creative ideas to fit any theme and Facebook seems to exacerbate the phenomenon. There has also been a backlash to this trend for those who like to keep things simple. Others have used birthdays as opportunities to give back and help foster a sense of community within their children by donating their presents or skipping presents entirely and asking for donations for their favorite charity. Don’t worry, this post isn’t about which approach is right or better because anyone who reads this blog knows that we here at CTWM’s are all about Judgment Free Motherhood.
I wouldn’t classify the parties we throw as Pinterest worthy (although I have been known to enlist my very talented sister in law to bake me a cake that is) and I’m totally ok with that. My approach is middle of the road depending on how much energy I can muster to put into a not too complicated theme – my oldest has requested Legos two years in a row. Score! We decorate the door to the birthday child’s room annually with streamers and balloons. We always steal a few minutes away from the party to take a picture of my husband and me with the birthday boy or girl as a way to commemorate the day they were born and the very first pictures in which they appeared.
More important than any other aspect of your party (or non party), birthdays are a reason (excuse?) to see friends and family. They should be spent surrounded by the people who love and support you much like the precious time when a baby first enters this world. With the busy lives we lead, these birthday parties are often the only way I am able to reach out and create an opportunity to see some of the people most dear to us that don’t run in our day to day circles. My point is that any way you slice it (the cake – sorry, I couldn’t resist) birthdays are sometimes the only chance to come together and have a good time – however you choose.