Birthday’s are important to me. They are a celebration of life, of who you were and who you are going to become. I want every big celebration in Squishy’s life to be full of memories. I can only recall a couple of gifts I received as a child, but I have vivid memories of the cake my mom made me that looked like a bunny rabbit. Or the time I had a party at McDonald’s; my friend Jeremy was there and we tried to climb the fiberglass tree. They were not extravagant Birthday parties by today’s standards, but they were special and I can look back on them and smile. I can feel the love that my mom put into each occasion.
Squishy’s birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year. He is turning the big 0-4. My baby is going to be a real big kid starting next week…*sniffle* We decided early that we would only have parties on even years, and go on EPIC adventures on odd years. Daddy took Squishy, me and His cousin Boogie to the the Train Museum in Old Sacramento last year when he turned three (and it was awesome!) . I didn’t factor in the years his birthday would fall on Thanksgiving, though. You can’t have a fabulous, over the top, extravaganza with all his bestest ever friends on a holiday. You just can’t.
I have been agonizing for months about what to do for Squishy’s birthday. As if the holidays are not stressful enough. First off, I knew that we would have to celebrate the weekend before. That was a little hard to explain to my literal little boy. He ended up calling the party his “fake Birthday”, because he just couldn’t grasp the concept of celebrating early.
It was at the beginning of the month, while I was setting up our thankful tree, when I finally decided on a super low-key, laid back Birthday party for Squishy. I chastised myself big time. I was obsessing about creating the perfect memories for Squishy, and focusing on all the wrong material things. His birthday is on Thanksgiving after all. The holiday where you are supposed to reflect on the things that you are thankful for. Focusing on the things that really matter, like family.
Should I spend hours making pup cakes for our guests to enjoy, or fork out 40-50 bucks on a cake he would just lick the frosting off of?
I did a bit of soul-searching. What are the things that Squishy loves? Being who he is, big crowds make him nervous. So would having every person he has ever met come to his party be a good idea for him? Probably not, but how do you not invite everyone and not hurt feelings? Squishy loves making Birthday cakes for everyone, but does not actually like eating them. (If he didn’t look so much like me, and I didn’t go through 36 hours to bring him into the world-this would make me question our relationship) Should I spend hours making pup cakes for our guests to enjoy, or fork out 40-50 bucks on a cake he would just lick the frosting off of?
All of these questions swirled in my head. I knew in my heart what we didn’t need. How would I make a party special without guests, though, without a cake? Basically how could I throw him a memorable party without throwing a Party? Ugh! Can you tell I was way over thinking this!?! Then Squish told me what he was thankful for that day, to put on the tree. He was thankful that I let him have a Pajama Day. Whoa!! I had THE light bulb moment.
The perfect Low Key Birthday Party. Donuts at the park was the solution I had been grasping towards. I decided to make it a family only party. Just his cousins, which he is blessed enough to be so close to, and the friends that he thinks of as family. These are the people he will grow up with, through thick and thin. They will all be able to look back on this day with fondness.
I told everyone to be at one of Squishy’s favorite neighborhood parks at 8:00 AM, and to wear their pajamas. My little brother then told me that was way to early for him to get up on a Saturday, so we changed it to 9:00 AM. Squish and I rolled out of bed, went and grabbed a couple dozen donuts and some chocolate milk, then headed to the park. I always stick up on face-paint after Halloween, so I threw that in the car too.
There were no decorations, no Pinatas, no ginormous inflatable bounce contraption. We didn’t even sing happy Birthday. *bad mom moment, I forgot the candle for his donut* You know what? None of that mattered. Squishy was surrounded by people he loves dearly. He was also outside, his favorite place to be, in his Jammie’s ALL DAY LONG.
The best part of the day, by far, was that mommy and daddy were stress free. We enjoyed the party just as much as the kids. Think about it, when was the last time you had an actual grown up conversation at your kids party? The whole thing was done by noon, with no clean up, too. So we were able to go home and enjoy the rest of our day.
I know that it’s easy to get caught up with the latest fad, and we race to keep up with the Jones’. Who are, by the way, racing to keep up with the Smiths. Everything keeps getting bigger and better. It starts off with a theme, you must have a theme. Then you have to have the cups, plates, and favors to match said theme. You simply must have a candy bar, popcorn bar, a kiddy pool full of surprise eggs. Why have one bounce house when you can have two, with a slide, into water? It’s a carnival theme so you have to have clowns and a petting zoo, with ponies to ride…right? Where does the madness stop, and is it worth it?
I am definitely not saying that Squishy will always have such low-key parties, and I want to include friends in our future celebrations. I will keep it in perspective, though. Today was pretty awesome.