Thursday, September 26, 2013

birthdays in review

We made it through crazy birthday week, celebrating both girls over the weekend. I was worried that they weren't going to get any attention this year with me being so exhausted and pregnant and all that goes with it. I was wrong.

Instead of spending these next few days (or dreadful weeks) twiddling my thumbs, and eating, as we wait and wait for this baby to come, and hopefully don't have to wait any longer than that, here is a brief overview of all the birthday fun...

One of the advantages of having birthdays close together is receiving one giant, shared gift!

This gift has so far served as an incredible source of entertainment and energy outlet. Both much needed in this time of laying low. It may also be used to induce labor if I am still pregnant a few days from now.

Another advantage is the number of times the girls got to blow out candles on their cakes. Pictured below we have
     Sommer blowing out the candles on her own cake,
     Sommer blowing out the candles on Annike's cake, and
     Sommer blowing out candles on leftover cake just because she really wanted to.
I think she was confused about when her actual birthday was because for 4 days straight there was some sort of celebration happening.

Another birthday favorite was the family party. This year it included my parents and my sister and her hubby. The best part is that the birthday girls didn't miss having friends their own age at their party because they love playing with their relatives so much! This may not always be the case, which makes this season in their lives special.

Apparently I don't take pictures of adults any more because this is the best I could pull up of the family. Note those in the background...

Because we didn't think we were doing much to celebrate this year, we made a special birthday trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Definitely a highlight for both little gals. In fact, I can't think of anything else they would have rather done.

The aquarium trip included dinner out and the very first time Annike has ever been sung to in a restaurant (for that matter, it was probably the first time that she has ever heard "Happy Birthday" sung in a restaurant to anyone, let alone herself.) She was absolutely mortified. This precious little girl looked like she was about to cry as she stared at me across the table with an extremely tortured expression that pleaded, "Why are you letting them do this to me?!" Only after she started eating the ice cream did a shy smile appear.

The most unexpected birthday blessing this year came from another kindergarten mother at Annike's school. Her little girl has a birthday the day before Annike's. Within the first few weeks of school this lady sought me out to invite Annike to have a joint birthday party with her daughter... at her house... for the 6 little girls (plus siblings) in their class... with no extra planning or work from me.

I was truly touched by her hospitality and deep desire to share her own daughter's special day with us. As we had no plans this year because Momma is super-pregnant and couldn't swing a party, we agreed. I twisted her arm to let me help with a few items like party favors and some food, but for the most part we just showed up at the right time and had a BLAST at this little tea party.

The little girls all arrived after school for lunch and tea and were shuttled into a room full of dress-up clothes. I am now fully convinced that a little girl's childhood is not complete without a tea party. These girls were in and out of the dress-up room all afternoon trying on different outfits and being girly together. It was delightful to watch.

As I mentioned above, it was this other mother's generosity that touched me. She viewed this birthday celebration as an opportunity to teach her daughter that birthdays are not about Me, or about getting presents, or about being self-centered for a day. She wanted her daughter to view her birthday as an opportunity to include others, to reach out, and to celebrate lives, plural, instead of one life, singular..

The lesson was for me. I question whether I would have done the same for someone else given a reverse situation. And yet it was such a beautiful and simple invitation that she offered us, to be a part of a birthday celebration she was already planning. She showed me genuine unselfishness on a birthday - a day that I have always made a special allowance for a certain amount of selfishness. But why? Did I think that some of the Biblical instructions for laying ourselves aside did not apply to birthdays? Perhaps I did.

Still we wait for our next little one to arrive, and eagerly anticipate his or her birthday. While having overlapping birthdays was not always my ideal picture for celebrating my children, I can say that I am happy to know we will always be learning about participating in more of a collective birthday celebration than a wholely individual one.

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