To kids, birthdays are about parties and attention and cake and a few presents. And my kid is no different.
I ordered the cake (Pokemon this year), we picked out the birthday shirt, he decided on Chuck E. Cheese (again…) for dinner, and he was excited to open a few cards and packages that had arrived for him in the mail over the last week — all recognizable as your standard, family birthday party.
It could’ve been mistaken as one of my own family birthday parties 25 years ago if Jeff and I weren’t too modern to subscribe to the print version of a newspaper. All the cool kids get presents wrapped in the funny paper, right?
Yep, birthdays are a celebration of kids and their special-ness and we spend the whole day finding ways to make them feel loved and the day feel memorable. We take photos and tell stories — maximizing every second of this one, single day. The birthday.
So there we were. Spending the day like we’ve spent every June 18th for the past six years – as a family of three. Because it may be his birthday, but it’s the anniversary of our family – and the gravity of that hasn’t worn off yet for Jeff and me. We tell him the story of the day he was born, and we talk about past birthdays (most of which look a lot like this one) and, inevitably, he starts making plans for NEXT year’s party. Where we will go, what cake he will want, and how awesome it will be.
Three people at Chuck E. Cheese on a Wednesday night may not do it for you, but for these introverted Hoods – it’s a party. We ate the pizza, we blew out the candles, and we opened a few gifts. We even spent $2.49 on THIS experience, which he was convinced would change his life.
Before bed, he had me measure him against his growth chart and he insisted he’d grown considerably “since [he] was five”, and we held the annual reading of Dr. Seuss’s Birthday Book, and I let him sleep in his birthday shirt — pizza smudges be damned.
And the truth is, he didn’t really get any taller, and he was only actually one day older than yesterday. And he’s the same kid I’ve been tucking into bed all along, but we earned ourselves another birthday. A family anniversary. And I can’t wait to see the next one.