This weekend we went to the Train Park. Everywhere we looked, birthday parties and their accoutrement – balloons, streamers, piñatas and frosting-smeared table coverings – added a festive feel to an already spectacularly gorgeous February day. I couldn’t help but feel a familiar flutter of anticipation as I noticed that nearly every family had chosen a red, pink or Valentine color scheme for their party decorations.
You see, my birthday is February 14.
My mom says that when I was a toddler, I believed all the decorations, parties and gifts were about ME – I didn’t understand the coexistence of my birthday and Valentine’s Day. In elementary school I felt a little disappointed that everyone else got to bring in cupcakes on their special day, while anything I brought in seemed to get lost in what was already a sugar-fueled and manic classroom party. But overall the upsides to a Valentine birthday have always outweighed the downsides, and I’ve enjoyed having a reason to celebrate on February 14th above and beyond/instead of/alongside the mushy gushy romantic stuff.
(Yes, it puts added pressure on my husband to pull together a birthday and Valentine’s Day all at once, but after ten years he’s a pro.)
As Scottsdale Moms Blog contributor Kirsten so brilliantly wrote a few months back, once you’re a mom most of the birthday focus goes into celebrating your little ones’ big days. My adult-sized birthday expectations are pretty low key, and as the kids get older I’m pretty sure that all the treats and trimmings of Valentine parties at school will overshadow my own celebration – and that’s totally okay.
All of this makes me wonder: what will my kids remember about their birthdays when they’re grown? What part will the time of year, the season, any coincidentally nearby holidays, play in their memories? Maybe our late April baby will remember beautiful outdoor weather, baseball, and spring (sometimes Easter) decorations. Maybe our early June child will associate his birthday with the end of school, Memorial Day long weekends, the NBA playoffs.
Yes, I’m a grown-up now, but there is a part of me that still gets a little giddy when the Valentine decorations come out – a freckle-nosed pipsqueak who wants an M&M cake and still thinks all the decorations are JUST for her.
Do you have a holiday birthday? Does your child? How has the time of year shaped your birthday memories? How do you approach kids’ birthdays that fall at tricky times of the year?