When did kids birthdays become multiple-day extravaganzas? Is it only my family that tends to celebrate a child getting older with days of celebrations and fanfare reminiscent of an Indian wedding?
Today is my middle son, Aden’s birthday. Like any new nine-year-old, he was super pumped to have a day that’s all about him. I get that. I’m more than happy to oblige.
But his birthday started a few days ago and has somehow extended through half a week. Aden’s Birthday Day 1 was his birthday party. What started out as a few friends for pizza and a movie ballooned into 13 boys throwing popcorn at the screen and me simultaneously trying to pretend I didn’t know them and apologizing to other theater patrons.
On AB days 2, 3 and 4, Aden got to eat sugary cereals as part of our family tradition. (To encourage healthy eating, I don’t buy sweet cereals for my kids but the two exceptions are vacations and birthdays.) For the last several mornings, my usual sleepyhead has scrambled downstairs to stuff his face with Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa Krispies. Joy for him and the dentist.
AB Day 3 of this boy’s birthday bonanza also included the grandparents weekend visit: a showering of gifts and special dessert at dinner.
On his actual birthday (aka AB Day 4) he wanted a snack to share with his class in school so I baked brownies for 25. In the afternoon, he opened more cards and presents from relatives and then tonight we went out for sushi (his favorite) and topped it all off with an ice cream cake.
As it was happening, it seemed reasonable but I realized today it feels like overkill. I’m almost as exhausted as I was nine years ago when I gave birth to him.
Why do we do it? To make them feel special and loved, of course.
I’m complaining now, but I’m sure I’ll do it all over again next year to see that smile. I know that as fast as he can blow out a candle, he’ll be too grown up for this stuff and I’ll look back on these years… and wonder: “Did I do enough?”