Wednesday April 15th my eldest daughter turned 5. This year her birthday happened to fall during spring break and Covid. We planned to go to Hawaii with my in-laws for a week, and had looked forward to playing in the warm ocean and eating endless amounts of pineapple and shave ice. When the closures surrounding Covid began we realized that her celebration would be different, little did we know how different.
I love a good reason to celebrate as long as it doesn’t force me to be the center of attention. My kids birthdays are an excuse to Pinterest, craft, and plan all in the name of love. The hope is that my daughters see this as an extension of my love and that they are surrounded by people that truly care and celebrate them. This will be the third year my daughter hasn’t had a traditional birthday, and that is a new tradition for us.
I have struggled with her disinterest in almost all things surrounding a traditional birthday celebration. She doesn’t want a party with all her friends and tons of presents which is what I had growing up. She definitely wants to call all the shots on that day, watch lots of movies, and get to eat desert after all meals. The past few years I have tried to honor her and how she wants to celebrate, channeling my inner party planner for an epic 4th of July bash.
Turning 5 is a milestone. Every day that passes I see Orly become her own person. How do we celebrate this milestone in our family? Well it takes discarding some of my own baggage. I want to have the Pinterest worthy party with the singing and the goodie bags. My daughter wants to pick out a Frozen 2 cake and lay around in her pajamas with us, that’s her idea of perfect.
Where does this baggage come from? I think if I take an honest look it comes from the pressure to fit in and the “keeping up with the Jones’s” mentality. I have to ask myself why do I want a party? I want it because I like to have people celebrate my awesome kid. I also want her to get the attention, and somehow that somehow that attention will make her feel loved. Truth be told, spending the day with her favorite people is what makes her feel loved. When I am in a big crowd it might meet some subconscious need of knowing I have friends but its truly my intimate circle that makes me feel loved and treasured. Thanks Orly for teaching me that I can be treasured by the people who love me, however large or small that group may be.
Orly will be the first to tell you this was her best birthday ever. This morning she reminded me how fun of a day she truly had. David and I found some balloons from a leftover party, spent hours blowing them up, and created an epic arch. Previously I would have been frustrated I had her unfavorite colors, and that it didn’t fit with the rainbow theme. This year I was forced to embrace that it had other awesome colors. We had pancakes, I wanted them to be unicorns, but had no idea what I was doing with a metal cookie cutter, so I threw in some food color. Again a major win in my daughters eyes, so what’s making me feel disappointed. Where did this idea, if it’s not perfect, its wrong come from? I thank children for giving me a perspective that can allow me to have more inner peace.
We skipped the morning walk, Orly was not walking on her birthday. After a movie, lots of playing, and treats we put little sister to bed and watched Trolls 2. We were all asked to wear pjs and I chose to not look at my phone during the movie. Some of the highlights of the day through her eyes were watching extra TV, everyone playing together, Ice Cream cake, and cuddles until she fell asleep. Wow, I don’t think my decorations and invitations could have made it better, but being present, and following her lead made it magical.
Loved this post Rachel, very insightful and touching. It’s been my experience as well that children teach us so much about ourselves and shine a light on our own hang ups. Sounds like you made her big day the BEST!