Our first-born’s birthday isn’t until mid-April, but once we return from China it will be right around the corner. Since I’m an admitted Over-The-Top-Birthday-Party-Planner, I figured it was time to officially get my party ducks in a row.
We’ve had a theme in mind for her for over a year: our typical extravaganza of a bash with scores of friends. Yet, as it’s drawn nearer, I’ve been hesitant… She’s a Big Girl now, she’ll be NINE, and her birthday should be her style– not mine. She’s cerebral, become more introspective, and though she’s still a fast friend to almost everyone she encounters, she’s an introvert and more comfortable in smaller crowds. She doesn’t crave the spotlight, but seems to thrive with more intimate, deep friendships and interactions. I’m loving watching my Baby Girl emerge into a Young Lady– with her own opinions, passions, and quirks. She is wonderfully unique and complex, and different from her mother.
I expressed my hesitations to Handsome Husband during our weekly date-night (aka Awanas) and he shared with me his fondest childhood birthday memories, when he was allowed to spend an entire day with just a couple of his closest friends doing his very favorite things (which, in true 1980’s fashion, included hours at the local arcade, followed by a visit to the roller-skating rink that I also often frequented in my youth, then Bob’s Burgers & a Nintendo marathon.) This strange birthday model intrigued me and I suspected might be right up our daughter’s alley.
We decided to let her choose. We went to her and told her how we’d been thinking about her birthday and all the plans we had devised, up to that point, then told her about Daddy’s favorite birthday when he was little and presented to her a choice… We made a big deal about the fact that she was a Big Girl now and would certainly be best suited to determine what would be most fun for her.
She was so visibly delighted and affirmed that she could hardly contain herself. As suspected, she chose to have a day of favorites activities with a couple favorite friends. And I teared up as she over and over thanked me for letting her choose, saying “Really? Really?! I’m so excited, Mommy, thank you for letting me choose!” The next morning she awoke and ran to my bed and actually asked me, “Mommy, was I dreaming or did you let me choose my own birthday party last night?! I’m so excited!” Oh, my heart.
Choosing bangs, another milestone this year.
Since it was such an obvious confidence boost to her, we took the empowerment a step further and told her that she could also plan her special day, selecting which special activities she’d like to participate in with her two special friends. She has taken to this task with much seriousness and zeal– there are rumors of pedicures, Starbuck’s, swimming, a visit to the book store, burgers and arcade games at Fuddruckers, and frozen yogurt. We will go with the flow and let her lead– within reason.
Another example of our differing tastes… she LOVED this wall-hanging at Hobby Lobby.
I never dreamed that she would prefer something so dramatically different than what I imagined her ideal celebration would look like– and I couldn’t be prouder. I’m so encouraged to watch her blossom into her own individual and to assert herself with grace. She is a true joy and I’m so thankful for the privilege of mothering her.
“And though she be but little, she is fierce.” -William Shakespeare
Home-school choir, she’s the youngest in her group.
Smallest on her winter basketball team, yet not lacking in effort/enthusiasm.