South America – Day 98

Tomorrow is Allyn’s birthday.  He will be 2 years old, so, we have plans to put up a Christmas tree tomorrow night.  I’ve been trying to decide how to have a birthday party either before or at the same time.  I’ve also been toying with the idea of making it a tradition to put up the Christmas tree every year on his birthday.  I can’t decide if that would be a good tradition or not.  Lots of people put up their tree over Thanksgiving weekend.  His birthday won’t always be that weekend but it will always be after Thanksgiving.  For now, while he is little, I’m sure it will be exciting.  

Children love to celebrate.  Sometimes it doesn’t even matter what it is, “it” needs to be celebrated.  When I was growing up we “celebrated” Sundays.  We all wrestled on the living room floor with my dad and then we had donuts for breakfast.  It was tradition.  Even when our church started serving breakfast, we continued to have donuts at home for breakfast, for a long time.  Derick and I celebrate everytime we get to stay in a hotel.  We get dessert and a pay-per-view movie and we sit in bed at night, watching our movie and eating our dessert.  When I went to California to visit Derick we had a suite so we tried to put Aida in bed first in her room, but as soon as the movie started and she saw us eating dessert she crawled in bed with us and shared the dessert.  She loved being part of that tradition.  I’m really not very good, as an adult, at celebrating little things in life with my kids.  Actually, I have to admit, I’m just not very good at planning celebrations at all.  I even struggle with my kids’ birthdays.  Poor Christian asks every year if he can have a party and invite all of his friends.  Every year I say yes, and then don’t plan, and don’t plan, and don’t plan and the birthday comes and the birthday goes and I didn’t plan.  Every year I think, this will be the year. 

“When home is a pep rally, I know I am celebrated when I am at home.”  Have you ever noticed that it is so easy to praise the accomplishments of babies and toddlers, but the older the child gets the harder it gets.  The “good job” turns into “you could have done better than this”.  I can praise Aida and Allyn for helping me put the dishes away, but I forget to even say thank you when Christian does the whole job himself.  This is one area that my book talks about that I need some serious improvements.  Birthdays are especially a source of frustration with me.  I have such a tendancy to procrastinate that the party never gets planned (not just for Christian but all the kids).  Then I feel like such a failure as a mother… over a simple birthday party.  But other things should be celebrated too, other events and accomplishments.  Sporting events, music concerts, school papers on which someone worked very hard, no matter what the final grade was, or just general improvements in various tasks.  I think I need to just sit down with Derick (maybe over Skype since we’ll have 2 birthdays and several holidays while he is gone) and decide what we want to do as a tradition for these special days and events.  In my family many traditions have evolved over the years.  But because they evolved and weren’t planned ahead of time, I missed out on some of these, being the oldest child.  My mom always picks the birthday person up from school and takes him out to lunch on their birthday.  I think I had already moved out when this tradition started.  Also, on a birthday, my dad goes to Walgreens at about 5am and buys goofy gifts (magazines, hand held fans, and frappacinos), one from each person that is at home that morning.  He comes home and wraps them and labels them from each person, then leaves them at the birthday persons place a the table, to open at breakfast.  And there is always a silly explanation for each one.  I think I was in high school when this tradition started.  I guess I’m focusing on birthdays because we don’t have many school or sports functions yet in my family. 

I don’t know how many readers I have but feel free to post comments and let me know some of your traditions, birthday or otherwise.  I want to be able to celebrate my children.  I want them to know that Derick and I are gonna be their cheerleaders and we will lead the rest of the “pep squad” (brothers and sister) in cheering them on in whatever area of their life needs cheering.

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