You Say It’s Your Birthday

Carla: While the actual birth-days of my children are three of the most miraculous and memorable moments of my life, I must say that celebrating those days is, to me, one of life’s bigger hassles.

My poor son was born on a major holiday, which means we either have his birthday party a few weeks before the actual day or a few weeks after it. If I remember. I have managed to pull off some kind of birthday party for him every year, but only out of guilt. I long for the day he doesn’t care or just plans his own party.

I’m not alone here. Today I called another mom to invite her son to my son’s last-minute, way-overdue birthday party and she noted that she has not had a party for her son yet, even though his birthday was a few months ago. Another mom invited my son to her boy’s party with the caveat, “His actual birthday was last summer but we’re just getting around to the party now.”

I hate hate hate hate hate planning birthday parties, even the extremely low-key, not-at-our-house, someone-else-makes-the-food-and-cleans-up, no-there-is-no-goodie-bag kind we are prone to throw together. I suppose like most things that stress me out it’s just a matter of making it happen–the event itself is not a big deal. And now that the friends have been called and the thing is on iCal, I feel a bit better. But still.

I guess what I really want to know is, how did this become my job? My husband hasn’t put one ounce of thought into this thing. He has not once woken up in the middle of the night panic-stricken because he can’t believe it’s almost February and we still haven’t had a party. Oh, he’ll be at the party and help hand out cupcakes and get bowling balls for everyone. And he makes the kids’ actual birthdays all kinds of fun. But the party planning has somehow landed on my mental plate and I don’t know why.

Caryn: Funny you should mention this. I’ve got two b-days coming up in the next month-ish and have already been thinking about how this will all go down. I, too, hate planning parties and I too have never done a goodie bag (but we DO always have a pinata, so that counts). And I too am always the one planning the party–with the husband who gets drinks for the adults and hangs and finds the proper bat for the pinata.

But I dunno. I don’t know why this falls on our laps. Clearly, the party should be for US that day. But I’m guessing it’s just because we love our kids so stinkin’ much and we’ve all heard the stories of those kids born on leap day in a leap year and who’s mom only celebrated their birthdays ever four years and know that moms who throw parties give their kids one less thing to grumble about down the road.

(Can you tell I have wet hair and have to run out the door to a meeting in 10 minutes?)

Carla: In the scope of things, this is a very minor complaint. And really, it’s not even a complaint as much as a…um…an…eh…. Okay, it’s a complaint.

I will say this, however, I am blessed to be amongst parents who–with very few exceptions–keep their kids’ parties as low-key as we do. I read about these over-the-top parties and how parents feel like they are stuck in this cycle of one-up-momship and I’m sooo glad that’s not the world I live in. I would be a big dud in that world.

There are two kinds of people in the world: those for whom birthdays are a big deal and those for whom they are not. I like to think that I am raising my children to have low expectations for their birthday celebrations. Their future friends will thank me.

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