Birthday, Simplified

I think having a child whose birthday is near Halloween is second only to Christmas for having too much going on in one week.

I won't even bore you with the list of fundraisers, Harvest parties, pumpkin patch visits (two of each) and other things that have been on the calendar between last Thursday and this Friday.

Boo's birthday is right in the middle of all of that. I suppose I could capitalize on the built-in occasions, but my birthday philosophy is that it's the one day that's just about that person. All the other holidays/occasions/celebrations we share in some way.

But in our family, no one shares a birthday, so it's the one time we're guaranteed a "You are special." I'm even working toward making the birthday our primary gift-giving occasion.

I try to make a really special cake, have a fun (not necessarily over the top, but special) party, well-thought out gifts, etc.

This year though, with everything else going on, I'm having a hard time living up to my own expectations. But instead of becoming crazy birthday mom who is so harried by all the plans that no one enjoys it, I decided to lighten up.

We met my parents at "The Pumpkin Capital of the World" last week to get in an early celebration with them (sandwiched between Bug's Harvest party in the am and the Trick or Treat/carnival that evening).

I had an inspiration walking through the mall and purchased a "Cookie Cake" instead of burdening myself with making a cake for the get-together. The kids always beg for one and we finally had a good reason.

We're having a simple "friends" party next week with the kids from just two other families. I don't even know where we'll have it or what we'll do, but I know the who and the when and I'll figure the rest out by then.

I almost didn't make a cake for his actual birthday, but Bug would have missed it and Boo wanted something "with fire on top." I kind of forgot that it didn't have to be from scratch and it didn't have to be fancy.

I let Boo choose from my assortment of interesting Bundt pans and doctored a cake mix to create a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cake (that smells awesome). I might not even frost it!

Gifts all came from the stash that I've accumulated shopping Target's 75% off toy sales, so there's been no shopping required.

It's not easy to let my ideas of "the perfect birthday" go, but really, the main thing is that Boo knows how special he is, how loved he is, and how proud we are of the boy he's becoming. Happy birthday Little One!

I don't always let myself off the hook. I'm one of those perfectionists who gets immobilized by the idea of things not going as I envision. Too often, I sacrifice sleep (and thus any ability to be patient, calm and cheery the following day) in an effort to make every detail of something just so.

I'm only of late catching on to the fact that often I'm the only one who will miss the detail because no one else expected it to begin with.

The boys don't care if I hand-carved a cake into a skateboard, they just want something to plant some candles in. My sister and niece aren't expecting the perfect hand-crafted gift for their birthday or Christmas, it's just nice to have something to make them feel connected to us when we're so far apart (I'm putting this out there now as motivation to be sure to get the gifts I've been collecting into the mail).

As moms I think sometimes we want so much for our families that we lose sight of how little it really takes to have a happy birthday or successful Saturday.

What are your birthday "must haves?" What ways have you found to make it special and keep it simple? I know there's a lot of creativity out there...share!

Or, what are some ways you have (or need to) let yourself off the hook and simplified?


Genny said...

It all sounds like fun! Those cake pictures were great!

I have to tell you, your comment about the sandwiches cracked me up today. Thanks for the laugh!

Pat said...

Your Blog is a Joy to visit!
Blessings and keep it up!!

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