Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Purpose of the Birthday

Some friends of ours had their daughter's one year old birthday party (this was about 13 years ago) and we went. They had catered bar-b-que, a big tent out back, a moonwalk, music, drinks, etc. It was a huge celebration. Where was their daughter? Upstairs taking a nap.

That always confused me.

I have never been a big fan of the huge birthday bash. HOWEVER, neither do I want to be the mom who doesn't do anything special for their child's birthday. Middle ground, folks. Middle ground. We had "kid" birthday parties for Sweetheart at home when she was 3 and 4, met everyone at the beach for her 5th and had smaller friend parties after that and sometimes just family. Little Bit has never had a friend party since she has built-in cousins and a sister and once family gets over....it's enough. Plus all the friends we used to invite over when Sweetheart was little all just had one child too. By the time Little Bit came along, they all had a sibling or 2 and it was just too much! And Little Bit got the flu for her birthday last year so I think this year she deserves a bigger party.

Sweetheart had a "big" party last year. It's not big by most folk's standards but it was big for us! There were games, we fed everyone hot dogs and hamburgers, and she had 5-10 kids over. It was big for our family in our 1500 square foot house.

This year I had great plans. Wonderful plans. They involved an out of town trip and a visit to a place Sweetheart would have LOVED to have gone to. However, August, especially THIS August, is the worst month in the world for affording things. So I thought of Plan B. But that was going to be too much too.

And I was getting really disappointed. A party at home with just family? That's not what I really wanted to do for her. Plan C wasn't what I wanted. So I got to thinking.....what is the point of the birthday party anyway?

It's to make sure she knows how loved she is. And how special she is to us. And how happy we are that she was born.

Right? So I will make a chocolate cake. We will put up decorations. Her aunts and grandparents and cousins will come over. She will get presents that she wrote down on a list 2 months ago and afixed to our fridge. She will get hugged, and spanked, and loved on.

And it will be wonderful.
Becuase she is wonderful.


  1. I never understood those bashes like that.I think simple but special parties are the best. We do something like this....

    1 year old special family party Intimate. Then at 3, 5 10, 13, 16 we will do a special fun with friends party a little more extra punch. Like skating, bowling, or etc.

    Then in between it is a smaller home or intimate party with very close friends and family. But we have small families, and they all live far a way. So usually they are really small parties like a friend or two.

  2. We do big first birthday parties mostly as an excuse for extended family to get together. Sometimes it's the first chance for great-aunts, uncles, second cousins, to meet the new addition. Other birthdays are just family members and godparents who are in town. That's about 16 of us, and plenty. One year we made cupcakes and distributed them to the neighborhood kids.

  3. We used to do big get togethers of families and friends and it just go too hard, so around here, the kids get to have a special breakfast, chosen by them, the Sunday after their birthday we go to my Mom's (my brother's and their families are there as well. My husband's family lives 6 hours away.), there they also get to choose the menu and get some gifts. They also get to choose one special activity. My son has chosen bowling with just the family one year, target practice with us and another family one year. Last year I took the girls out of town and we did a Passport2Purity weekend for their 12th, one year they had some friends over for cake and crafts, this year, for their 13th, we will be having a girls day out together, just the three of us getting manicures and pedicures. I <3 that it's different every year, that it's affordable and that we're making new memories each time.

  4. Parents are often so worried about disappointing their children in this arena. But look at how happy she is with her cake! :)

    We keep it to ourselves, the birthday person chooses the menu for the day, and they get 4 presents (something they want, something they need, something they'd like, and something to read). We go big for 13, but that's it.

  5. We do parties and do it big. I am a cancer survivor and I tell you one thing, I will celebrate if the day has sunshine if that is what it takes.. 8) Birthdays are big (for the kids). Not so much in amount of toys or anything like that..but people we love around us...lots of food, balloons, games...I love it!

  6. You know, growing up in a family of six, we mostly had family parties. I got to pick my cake and my birthday dinner, and that was a big deal! I raised my two kids this way, and other than a special party at 13 and 16, it was low-key, but special. I really like Q's thoughts on the gift-giving! :)

  7. I do too! Q's little poem is one to remember!! I think I'll use it at Christmas though since I don't usually give 4 gifts on birthdays. :) I've been giving 3 gifts at Christmas b/c of another blogger who said, "if it was good enough for our Lord, it's good enough for them!" :) I love BOTH of those!!!

  8. You've been to some of our birthday parties
    Nuff said : )

  9. Happy birthday to Sweetheart! I remember when she was born...well, from a distance! I remember we were living in a little duplex in San Antone when she was born, and I remember wrapping up some little baby girl clothes for her. Oh...that was probably the last time I've had my hands on baby girl clothes. Ha ha!!!


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)