I love birthdays.
Maybe not my own, but I love celebrating the birthdays of the important people in my life. Not in an over the top, spend an insane amount of money on a party or surprise my 16-year-old with a brand new car. I love birthdays in the way that it is quite literally THEIR DAY.
I have a budget for everything, even birthdays. But on birthdays, I do not mind going over budget and I usually do.
Let me clarify some more, we are not a religious family. We do not go to church unless someone is getting married or has died. We celebrate Christmas in a traditional American consumer way and Easter fell by the waist side when the kids stopped being old enough to do egg hunts.
But birthdays… I like to make them still practical gift-giving experiences but I am more flexible. In regards to my kids, I do not mind spoiling them on their birthdays, just a little. In a few more years they will be grown and out of my house. A few more years after that they will have their own families to tend to in one way or another. At that point, birthdays may just be a facetime and card in the mail.
My daughter’s birthday is a few days after Christmas. People laugh at me when I say that I get her the thing she really, really, really wants for Christmas for her birthday. I do not want Santa getting all the credit. I am aware this seems selfish but everyone has that one or two Christmases as a child where they got that one thing that they wanted. Eventually, you realize it was all your parents, or family, but I never wanted to wait until my daughter was an adult or teenager to get the credit for fulfilling her biggest desire.
I write this on the morning of my son’s 14th birthday. I will save all the sentimental sentences for my journal but let me say I cannot believe this kid is 14. Months ago he told me he wanted some video game, but it did not come out until November. At that point, I reserved to just give him x-amount of dollars; most to cover the game and little extra for whatever. I also got him a few other smaller things for his birthday. I ended up giving him one thing he kept bugging me for (an Adidas zip-up) early because he kept saying he needed it for soccer which is over by this birthday. Unbeknownst to me, my husband got him a book and eventually ordered him a sweatshirt he had been asking for since the summer months. Wonderful. A few days ago, when I told my husband that I needed to go to the bank to get money for the boy’s card he made some comment about him having enough; and how much he, personally already spent.
Yes, we have already spent quite a bit and still had to the obligatory birthday dinner out (which is a treat in of itself because we do not eat out that much) and we still had the family birthday lunch that weekend and of course, the birthday child wants to have friends over.
In reality, I set pretty much the same budget every year and I go over it every year and spend double that whatever I had planned.
This is my kid though, and it is his birthday. He is a good kid (and I am not just saying that; there are plenty of times I will call him an asshole), and he is doing really well in High School. And it is his day today.
Birthdays to me are the one day of the year that we can celebrate someone and be thankful that their mother brought them into this world. Birthdays are the day we show the important people in ours lives how much we love them. Birthdays are the one day on the calendar that cannot be turned into a Hallmark holiday.