I have a friend who’s fond of reminding me that if we don’t celebrate the little moments, life simply passes us by. While we are not over-the-top celebrating holiday and family festivities at our house, I recognize how important it is to mark the passage of time with special birthday celebrations for my kids.
Birthdays are about feeling special for a day, and as a mom, my kids’ birthdays remind me of that special time they came into the world and how fortunate I am to have them in my life. It also reflects how quickly time passes and how suddenly that two-year-old cherub morphed into a self-possessed teenager.
Birthdays certainly come in all shapes and sizes.We all remember (or are perhaps still enjoying) the raucous parties at Pump-It-Upor the bowling alley. Or maybe we’ve hosted a dozen fifth graders for asleepless sleepover. Those are head-spinning times, but they make the kids so happy. And there are small ways we can celebrate with our kids as well to make them feel special.
I have one friend who lets her kids have ice cream for breakfast on each of their birthdays. It’s a small way to make one day out of the year really stand out in an extra special way. Other friends opt for a lunch, spa day, or evening out with their son or daughter. Giving a child one-on-one attention (or better yet, two-on-one attention if you and your spouse can both join in) creates a moment that a child will truly remember. Still other friends throw the occasional surprise party. While the adults I know have mixed feelings on being caught off-guard for a party, most kids seem to love the novelty of suddenly being the center of attention.
Something as simple as a family meal together with a lavish cake as the finale, the tradition of going to the same favorite restaurant every year, or a bouquet of balloons can really set the day apart from all the rest. As my kids grow older, I try to involve them in the planning, and as long as they don’t request something too extravagant or out-of-bounds, it’s nice to let them lead the way.
I’ll be the first to admit that party planning for kids isn’t my specialty, and sometimes it’s hard with everything I have to accomplish to spend time selecting a spread of perfect gifts. But it really isn’t the parties and the gifts that matter, is it? It’s the memories that my kids will hold onto long until they are adults. All I have to do is think back to my most memorable birthdays growing up and it reminds me how rewarding those small moments in life can be.