October is definitely the kick-off for birthdays in our four-person immediate family. We’re all within a month of each other, except for my husband; his is in the boring month of January. Why does he go to such extremes to be a loner? He’s still a winter baby, so I suppose that’ll do. Let’s be honest, by January we’re all broke from the holidays, we’re stuck with a collection of coffee mugs and candles, have reached a whole new kind of pale, and any hope for a Hawaiian vacation is a pipe dream, because you spent your extra money on the people you forgot about.
Or you could be really sick like me: when I buy gifts for people, I have to “test it out” and buy one for myself. You’re never too old to have matching reindeer socks with your best friend, right?!
My son’s birthday is first, he turns 3. I’m at a crossroads. On one hand you want to invite friends with kids to have it feel like a normal little kids birthday party and on the other hand you want it to be a small gathering with just family. The good thing about having children at a childrens birthday party is, they’re children. It makes sense. A bunch of senior citizens would be fine too, however, pin the tail on the donkey might not go over too well after spinning them around a few times and launching them into a wall.
The bad things about having little kids at the birthday party is someone always gets cake in their eye (it’s usually the hyper kid) and you’re not sure which stain in the carpet you should be most concerned about: the blue one or the yellow one.
Kids also add to the ambiance and sentimental portion of the party. If little Bob and Roger end up being best friends, they’ll always hold in their hearts sharing in the joy of being at each others’ birthday party. If they become enemies, they can correctly talk mean about each others’ mother, but with appropriate context. “Your mother’s gluten-free cupcakes were terrible!” and the other replies, “Well at least my mom didn’t secretly cut out pictures of Channing Tatum and keep them in her jewelry box!” (FYI, my kid is not named Bob, I love gluten, and the cut-out pictures are for business purposes only.)
The good thing about having only family at the party is the kid always loves being around the fun aunties and the familiar grandparents and can be comfortable. The bad thing is it’s a bunch of adults not eating cake because carbs and sugar are the enemy. Ugh. What am I supposed to do, make birthday cake out of cucumbers and spinach? My 3-year-old would grow up dysfunctional and be the adult that sits alone in the corner at the coffee shop mumbling to himself. I can’t do that to him.
As we get older our birthdays seem to be only important at milestones which is sad, but nice for the birthday haters out there, like my husband (for shame).
I cross the 30 milestone in a year, it’s exciting! I’m finding I don’t “need” to look like a walking Nordstrom catalog. If I’m not wearing a trendy scarf or cute boots, I can still leave the house without panicking. If I’m not cute with my hair up and jeans, what’s the point of a scarf? You can chalk it up to “letting myself go,” because when I was younger, that’s what I called it too. But being myself makes me (and my loved ones) happy. Inconceivable.
Worrying about what I once considered to being “trifling things” seems absurd. Between bills, kids, and the house, I just don’t have time for it. Instead I surround myself with non-judgmental people that enjoy being healthy in mind and body, enjoy life, and love to laugh. I’m not saying we’re perfect, but that’s the point. If someone wants to point out my imperfections at this age, it’s like, pointless. I already know. It bums me out for young people (or anyone for that matter) that think they need to have it together all the time. That’s not reality, we’re too human to be perfect. Personally, that’s my favorite thing about the Lord ... He gets it. I’m at the age where I can just smile at the fact we’re all beautifully flawed and work on having grace on myself and others. Rainbows.
Here’s the thing: I realize I went from talking about my son’s birthday to my own (they’re only a few days apart). Whether you’re 3 or 30, enjoy your time in this world. Treat yourself and others like it’s birthday time year round! Happy Birthday to my sweet Killian!
Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.