A fantastic blogger friend of mine recently wrote a great post 'Birthday Girl', which got me thinking that in the midst of our frantic move, the Easter Holidays, planning for parents Ruby Wedding Anniversary do, and the chaos of day to day life it is my birthday in less than 2 weeks.
Mummy Plum got me thinking about Birthday Traditions, and reminiscing about my birthdays of my childhood. My parents always used to put my cards on the door mat, so that when I got up it looked like I had received them all through the post. I used to love scooping them up and making my way into the kitchen to find the dining table decorated with my gifts and cake as a centre piece. Apart from one year when instead I was made to cover my eyes, was assisted downstairs to find a new bike set up in the hallway (with my cards on the mat behind it of course).
I was always allowed a birthday party. The first one I really remember was my fifth birthday. I wore a little red skirt with a white, red and yellow striped top and thought I looked the bee's knee's. We ate wearing pointy, shiny party hats and played pass-the-parcel, musical chairs and musical statues. Parties used to fly by, parents were knocking at the door to collect close friends all too soon, none of this 'must invite the whole class' situation that seems to be the thing nowadays.
My mum was always very particular about me having a really great cake and used to take me weeks before to the local bakers to choose which one I would like. I remember having 'bunnies in bed', a Dougal from The Magic Roundabout, and those baked in the shape of the age that I was.
My Dougal Cake was Pink (of course) Image : Box O' Cakes
As I got older birthday parties were replaced by 'An Outing' with two or three friends. I remember one particular birthday we went to Chessington World of Adventures and the weather being beautiful, another going to the local Ice Rink and another, when my birthday fell over a Bank Holiday weekend, spent on a mini-break and when we arrived all of our extended family were there as a surprise.
One thing I have realised whilst thinking about this post, is that I do not really have birthday traditions now I am an adult. I would like to have some though I think. Last year, The Hubby and I went shopping for the afternoon. After a lovely morning with the children, we spent the afternoon browsing at leisure (a rare luxury) with a nice meal to finish the day off, while the children spent some happy hours at Nanny and Grandad's. It would be nice if once a year that was our tradition, I was certainly hoping that would be the birthday activity of choice this year. However, we are moving on my day of birth this year, so we might have to postpone it!
Whilst I do not have traditions as an adult I try to ensure that the children have the same happy memories of birthdays as I had. I try and wake them up super excited, do the cards on the door mat, decorations around the home and display on the table. We did do 'Parties' for J1 for a few years but he doesn't get very much out of them so we now try tailor an activity for him to have as much fun as everyone else. I must admit I am looking forward to J2 getting older and arranging a-typical school friend parties for him.
Until I had children I did not realise the importance of birthdays to parents. I used to look at those parents throwing extravagant parties for 2 year olds and think 'Why?'. But now I understand, when your children are babies / toddlers you are thrilled that everyone has made it through a year unscathed and that is a reason to celebrate; when they get to school age you realise just how quickly the time is going and you want to make memories for everyone that will never be forgotten; as you get to adulthood you appreciate the fact that you are there to celebrate with the ones you love full stop. Considering I am only 32, too many of my friends have already had to say goodbye to a parent, or even more devastatingly, both and that makes me realise how lucky I am.
So this birthday, it doesn't matter that I haven't had time to plan or prepare. I am just going to appreciate that I have very special people to spend it with.