Birthdays are interesting when you get older. As children we take for granted what happens on our birthday, we assume there will be a party or dinner, cake or cupcakes, presents and music. As we get older we begin to realize how much is involved in birthday traditions.
My traditions as a child were always a homemade cake, lots of friends and free-play time. We didn't have structured birthdays with designer crafts or expensive activities. We didn't book bowling alleys or waterparks. We had way more fun than that. My favourite memory is lip synching to Amy Grant (on cassette) with a bunch of friends, all dressed up in glam clothes raided from my moms closet with clip on earrings, lipstick and such. Birthday menus were cheap hot dog and chips meals, washed down with Tang and Iced Tea that was never quite mixed sweet enough. Popsicles if it was summer, or scoops of Neapolitan ice cream -- that was the designer flavour at the time.
My kids get the occasional BIG birthday party, and it's remembered fondly. My oldest has had bowling parties, arts and crafts, pets and animals, and even a magician when she turned five. But in between the big ones, she has the normal barbecues and dinner parties. It's a tricky line to cross, when you attempt to "keep up" or out-do her peers' parties. I've never bought designer clothes or shoes, unless it's a Christmas present. I've never been too worried about the extracurricular activities and the amount if money you can invest in some of those. I teach my children to be good people, and to recognize the value of what they do have. Adults are silly about this too. The "ME" attitude sometimes crosses over into adult birthdays, an excuse to buy yourself stuff that you don't need for prices that you really shouldn't pay. And to be honest my opinion is that adult birthdays are not a reason to party ... but they do deserve recognition, growing older and (hopefully) wiser each year and sharing your life with other people. Of course, as I'm writing this I'm on my way to purchase an oversized, overpriced birthday present for someone I love dearly, and each year with him is a gift as well. Silly me, I'm a bit of a hypocrite today. Happy Birthday (Monday) to you!