Managing Monday’s: Making Birthday’s Special

Managing Monday’s: Making Birthday’s Special

I love birthdays.  I of course love mine, but I just love celebrating people in general so I love all birthdays.  April is a big month for our family.  My husband’s is April 3, my sister in-law April 5, my sister April 6, my father in law April 11, my daughter April 15.  That’s a whole bunch of celebrating!

As a parent it was and is  important to me to make birthdays special.  I like to have parties but never wanted that to be the focus of the day.  I have been to many extravagant parties as a clown and then as a parent of four I have seen just about everything.  My three boys birthdays are all in October and I knew early on I could not handle  three big parties, plus Halloween all in one month.  We settled on a plan that gave the kids actual parties with invitation’s and activities and gift bags etc., on their 5th, 10th, 13th, 16th, and 18th.

On the years they do not have an actual party they are allowed to have one friend over to join us for the birthday dinner.  The Birthdays begin at midnight with me waking them up, wishing them a Happy Birthday and asking them if they want to go get a treat.  If you can believe it, I have not had a yes answer yet.  “Go away mom”  “Really are you still doing this?” and groans are what I have been mostly met with.  Then their dad will wake them up to take them out to a birthday breakfast with him.  I get out the photo album and we talk about their birth and who was there and all that good stuff.  For our two adopted boys we get out the album of the first day we saw them, we make up stories, guess about their birth and generally embarrass them.

The main event for the birthday person is Dinner.  From the time they were about three we have let them choose the menu.  They have to choose a main course a vegetable and the dessert they would like.  They also get to choose where everyone at the dinner will sit.  The power of this is not to be underestimated, my kids thought about this weeks in advance.  Christian in fact starts picking his menu in April because everyone else is celebrating so he wants to too.  We have a special birthday plate and a birthday candle which even now, as teenagers, they make sure are out.

When they started grade school, we began a new tradition of a birthday journal.  At the dinner table we would each take turn saying what it was we liked about the birthday person.  It is so much fun to look back on these now.  John, who never talked much almost always said “because they are nice” Isaac even back in his early years tried to find something funny to say, and Jessie’s always took up the most space.  Christian’s usually had something to do with food, or that they played basketball with him. Mine of course, was gooey, and Scott would try for a grandiose statement that would live with them forever.

We are blessed to have such great kids and celebrating them is an easy thing to do.  We tried to keep the focus off of the material gifts and more just about celebrating the person.  The birthday journal was by far the best record I have of these days.  Birthday’s are important, and no matter how you choose to celebrate my encouragement is to celebrate.  They will not remember the gift you get them from year to year but they will remember how loved and special it is that they were born.  Find a tradition, be  as consistent as possible and celebrate with love!

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