Last night Macaroni wanted to talk about her birthday party. She has been trying to talk about her birthday party since at least August.
Her birthday is in March.
She had a birthday party. A big deal slumber party at a hotel. She had pizza and presents and cake. They swam, told scary stories, played games, watched movies. It was “the best birthday ever!”
“But what about my party next year,” she asks.
We’ve been talking about the idea that we don’t need a party every year since March. Not that we shouldn’t celebrate how happy we are that it’s her birthday and that she was born, but that a party isn’t as special when you do it every year and invite all the same people who have been at pretty much every birthday party for the last 8 years.
See, Macaroni has had a birthday party every year since she turned one.
She had a fairyland party where she dressed as a princess. She had a tea party where all the girls dressed fancy and wore hats, gloves and pearls. She had a dancer party where everyone dressed like ballerinas.
She asked for a “P. Diddy party” one year, but I had no idea what that was an figured serving Ciroc to kids was a bad idea, so we opted for a spa party instead where we did manicures, pedicures and make-up.
She had two birthday parties at Chucky Cheeze and a slumber party.
Admittedly, I like parties. I like planning parties and you know those people who love themes and cutesy shit — yea, that’s me. Guilty as charged!
Except now every year she expects something special for her birthday. At first I felt that was a bad thing and that I was totally making her into a consumer or having her place value on things that don’t matter and whatever else liberal parents may think about having a party every year. But then I started to wonder whether it really is as bad and spoiled as it sounds.
Before you look down your nose about this totally first world problem and judge me, hear me out.
“I have to have a party next year, mommy,” she pleaded last night while we tried to talk about why she didn’t need to have a party every year and that maybe having a party every year made it less special.
We talked about the fact that some people don’t get any birthday parties and about having gratitude and all that. She acknowledged that she was lucky to have had a party every year of her life so far. She understood that not all kids get that.
“Okay, mommy, but can I pleasssseeeee have a party next year,” she asked again.
“Birthdays are my favorite holidays,” she continued.
The funny thing is that in that moment I heard my own voice explaining to my own mom that birthdays were my favorite holiday. We had all those birthday parties for her (and for Brother before her) because they made me feel good.
I mean, a two year-old isn’t begging for a tea party, ya know?
Birthdays are my favorite holiday because they mark the day when you started this life. It comes once a year and in the year between the one before and the next one after you’ve grown and changed. You may not even be quite the same person.
In a way, birthdays are kind of like a rebirth every year into a new phase in your life. Isn’t that reason enough to celebrate?
So, I agreed that she could have a party next year but that we wouldn’t talk about it again until next year which is a fair compromise considering both her brother and sister have birthdays before her.
She can have a party next year, and the one after that and for as long as she feels likes he wants to celebrate her birthday with a party.
Because birthdays are her favorite holiday. Because birthdays make her feel good. Because she wants to celebrate her life.
As we ended the conversation she asked, “Are you going to throw Ladybug a birthday party this year?”
“Of course not,” I said. “She’s not going to remember and she had a party last year.”
“But we’re still going to celebrate her, right,” she asked sounding a little concerned.
“Of course,” I said.
You see, birthdays are our favorite holiday and that’s why we celebrate them. We celebrate life.
What’s your favorite holiday?