I used to think, why would kids need to celebrate their birthdays in school or throw an elaborate party complete with a bouncy castle, clown and fireworks? After all, I didn’t have them as a child and I grew up fine. I don’t think I was deprived and besides, my family made sure the day was remembered and celebrated. But I did remember my 12th birthday when my youth group gave me a surprise party at my house on a weekday. They (poor secondary school students and young working adults) even pooled money to get me rollerblades, which was like, way cool and awesome then okay… I remember I felt really touched, not at the gift but at the effort and gesture of love. Ahh… So this is what it’s like to be surprised and celebrate birthdays with friends.
For K, I didn’t think I needed or wanted to throw an extravagant party for her. In fact, I was a bit hesitant about throwing a party in her school, complete with cake and goodie bags for her friends. Would it be spoiling her? Am I doing this just because I cave in to peer pressure? But since January, all her friends (Really. ALL) will have some celebration. They will walk around a “sun” x number of times depending on how old they are, representing x number of years has passed. Then birthday girl/boy’s friends will gather round and and say “Happy Birthday” and he/she will sit on a chair and call out her friends’ names one by one to receive their goodie bags and they will hug him/her and wish him/her happy birthday. It’s quite a well-rehearsed ritual, considering there are 30 students in her class, you’d think the kids will get bored of celebrating birthdays right? But NO…. They are still crazy over it. Crazy crazy. Like stars-in-their-eyes-googly-crazy. Especially K. She was so excited at her birthday drawing nearer that everyday (for the past 8 months) she walked past the birthday calendar chart, she would point to her name and say, “My birthday is coming soon right?”
So yes, she had her school birthday party, will be having a family birthday party, and another mini one at an indoor playground with her friends (ok, more like my friends with kids her age) during the September holidays and the idea was to keep letting her blow candles (her favorite part) and celebrate the momentous occasion. I might have gotten carried away as well cuz’ since the idea is to GO BIG OR GO HOME right, I sewed her a birthday outfit – the Elsa dress (a poor imitation) to fit her Frozen theme. Admittedly, it was because I procrastinated too much and cannot pre-order the dress in time.
Her grandma spared no expense sourcing for gifts and packing the goodie bags. (We did involve K in the work session of packing goodie bags and it was a good opportunity for her to practise counting and sorting.) Is it extravagant? Not in terms of money, but I think it exceeded my initial expectations in terms of effort. But yes… It made her really really really happy so it’s all worth it.
Of course, this is not considered crazy (but don’t forget, this is only Part I. There is still Part 2 and 3). So why do we do crazy, elaborate things for the kids? Because seeing the smiles on their faces is priceless and so precious. The day will come when even if we parents want to do something crazy for the kid’s birthday, it cannot compare to a simple celebration by his/her friends in school, or the efforts of a significant other. This is the season and the time, so why not, according to your means and what you think is appropriate? Don’t hold back, just Let It Go… Hah… Now the song’s stuck in your head right?
Happy 3rd birthday Baby! Yes, you are a Princess because you are the daughter of the Most High. Let no one cast doubt on how precious you are and how worthy you are of extravagant love. You are worthy not because of your external appearance, or talent or gift, things the world can take away and fade with time, but because God says you are beautiful and well-loved. May you discover your place, position and purpose and learn to see the good in every situation. Always dance, like you already do.
Love, Papa and Mama