I can't think about it too much or I'll start crying again.
We celebrated her actual birthday with a few of her favorite things: First was a trip to Starbucks for chocolate milk and a scone. Then we headed to Half Price Books where she found a couple of books she couldn't live without. After we had browsed for awhile, she started looking for books her brother might like. I told her that today was her special day and that I wasn't planning on buying books for Sam. She looked down at the two books she had found for herself and said she would put one back so we could get a book for Sam too. Well, my heart just broke for her love for her brother, so of course I got her both of her books and one for Sammy. I love that my kids always think of each other.
Then I dropped her off at Rich's office for lunch and an afternoon with Daddy (while I attended her parents-only preschool orientation). The Fashion Meets Music Festival was gearing up downtown, so there were street vendors and rides everywhere, which she thought was awesome! I think it worked out to be a very special day for her.
We talked about doing more of the low key special birthdays and less of the big 20 person parties from now on; reserving the bigger parties for milestone birthdays. The parties are so much fun and special in their own way, but they just seem a little overkill to keep doing every year.
Let's be real...some of our motivation is selfish. It's a lot of extra work and expense for Rich and I to throw these parties. But most of our motivation is the expectation of excess. It seems extreme for our kids to get so much for their birthdays when so many kids get nothing. It seems out of balance with what we're trying to teach our kids about the world and their place in it. We want them to know that they're special and unique and loved and cherished, especially on their birthdays. We just think there are better ways to do that than grooming inflated expectations.
But this year was a milestone for Lena - 5 years old!! So we had her big birthday party this weekend with her friends and family. She chose to have another beach themed birthday party (same as last year), so out came the beach balls and limbo pole and swimming pools and hula skirts. Good times.
It was storming most of the day, so the majority of this beach party was indoors. No matter. Rich played Marco Polo, limbo and a giant beach ball game with the kids in the basement, then upstairs for sand pudding, beachy snacks and presents.
As the party was wrapping up, the rain stopped long enough for the kids to move outside, so they got to splish splash (just like the invitation promised) after all!
My sweet girl. Slow down...it's moving too fast.