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I am not a crafty type mom. I’m not an over-the-top kind of mom. I don’t throw birthday bashes for hundreds of people that cost thousands of dollars. (I’m not sure that actually happens outside of television shows!) But, I do like to make my kids feel special on their birthday.
I remember back to my own childhood and how much I loved celebrating my birthday. There is something special about the people around you all stopping to celebrate you — and I say that as an introverted shy person! I also think of my current birthdays. Somewhere along the way, birthdays lose some of their magic.
I tend to have bad birthday luck. Two of the three dogs I have ever had have died within a week of my birthday. My 16th birthday was such a disaster that I spent the whole day in tears. This past birthday was very hard as it marked one year to the day since I had gotten to visit with my maternal grandma; she passed away the morning after my birthday in 2017.
As an adult, I’ve found birthdays to be bittersweet less because I’m aging but more because there are folks missing from my celebration. Some have gone on to heaven. Others have left my life by their choice. And still others are separated from me by unchangeable circumstances. But, my heart still holds a place for all of them.
I know that will happen for my children. As much as I want to spare them from pain in life, I know they will experience it, because it really is part of life. But, especially before that happens, I want to celebrate and embrace their birthdays wholly.
My family continues to tease me about how I like to celebrate my birthday as long as I can. While that isn’t true any longer, it sure was when I was a child. I’d have a party for friends, one for family and one at school. Nowadays, the same is true with my kids.
Today my oldest turns 9. I am aghast that my tiny baby girl is turning more and more into a young woman. She is the one who first made me a mama. She continues to astound me and sweep me off my feet. When I look at her, I see how much she has grown and all the potential she has rolled into one. I see a beautiful girl who looks dramatically different than I expected (seriously, she got all the recessive traits!). I want to make her feel as special as I can. I was blessed that she entered the world nine years ago today. The world is a better place for having her in it.
So we will continue our traditions. My goal with traditions is always to keep them simple so they are doable from one year to the next, even if life gets super crazy. Feel free to borrow them. Make them your own. Share your ideas with me. It’s never too late to start a tradition!
1. On the night before the kiddo’s birthday, we hang balloons from their doorway with crepe paper after they go to bed. This is a super easy tradition that my kids love and look forward to each year.
2. We wake them up on their birthday by going into their room singing, “Happy Birthday.” I always video record this, and it’s fun to go back and see them from the time they were in their cribs until now. My daughter was born in the morning, so we usually go in there a little earlier than necessary for a school morning and then count down to 6:36 a.m. when she officially becomes another year older.
3. The birthday child gets to decide what we have for dinner. I think every birthday they have chosen to go out to eat, and I’m fine with that. This year, my daughter has picked Chinese food and wants to get it takeout to eat at home. She is so my kid!
4. We read “On the Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman. I love this book because it celebrates life. I always get choked up throughout it, but I love reading it every year
5. I pray for the kids before bed. Usually at bedtime, our children pray out loud. Their dad and I don’t usually pray out loud with them at that time. On their birthdays, though, I always jump in after they finish their prayer and add one of my own thanking God for the blessing of the kiddo and for Him to be with them as they grow and so on.
Of course we do other typical birthday traditions, too. The kids have presents to open. We have a sweet treat, which isn’t always cake. I love cake and ice cream, but my oldest doesn’t so much. Instead we had Oreo ice cream cake with her grandparents, doughnuts with her friends and cookies with her classmates.
What birthday traditions does your family have?