My grandson had his 6th birthday this past weekend.
His parents make a big deal of birthdays.
When he woke up he discovered that his bedroom door had been decorated for his birthday in a variety of things and colors including balloons (this is a family tradition for them). Then he was allowed to watch a TV show (a rarity for them). I called him at that point to wish him a great day but he was very involved in the show and said, “Thank you, Mackie. Bye.” Short and sweet.
His father took him out the breakfast – another family tradition.
In the afternoon, he had a “Lego” party with 4 of his school chums where Noelle planned several Lego “competitions” with prizes for the “most creative”, the “fastest time”, the “weirdest”…
She made a Lego cake with blue icing which turned all the kids’ tongues blue – to their delight! That night we gathered as a family for grilled hotdogs and hamburgers with chocolate fondue for dessert – all his special requests. And present opening – he got his first train!
My daughter was exhausted by evening and I made a comment about not doing so much next year. Her reply was, “But I want to celebrate each of my children.”
And she does – beautifully. Her children are her treasures and she never lets them forget it. She is a delightful young mother – a joy to observe. She has taught me about parenting.
I remember the joy it was to prepare for my own children’s birthdays. And the exhaustion.
It made me think about all the planning, creating, decorating, cooking she had done for his birthday.
I related it to Christmas.
The months/weeks we plan for it – sometimes all year we are thinking about it and tuck away gifts for “next Christmas”. We spend hour upon hour shopping for just the right gift. Then we wrap them all. We expend energy to try to meet all expectations. We bake cookies, cakes, pies…plan the big meal… We decorate the house – inside and out. We host or attend parties with friends. We go to concerts of beautiful music. We send and receive cards – whether by snail mail (I love to receive those) or by e-mail. We keep old family traditions and hold our memories close.
Yes, we pull out all the stops for Christmas! The biggest birthday party of all – the birthday of the King.
So this week as I tend to all the last-minute details – all my children and 7 of my grandchildren will be with me this year – I keep in my mind that I am preparing a birthday party. A very special one.
“In the little village of Bethlehem, there lay a Child one day,
And the sky was filled with a holy light o’er the place where Jesus lay.
Alleluia! O how the angels sang.
Alleluia! How it rang.
And the sky was bright with a holy light,
’twas the birthday of a King.”