Friday, October 26, 2007

Our Birthday Tradition

Every family has traditions. One of ours is happening right now. Let me begin by giving you the history:

When I was a young mom, my best friend, Heather, told me of a tradition her mom used to do. Every birthday morning she would go downstairs and find the kitchen decorated with streamers. She knew how special she was and felt so special all day. So, I, having but three little children at the time, found this to be a great idea. But I wanted it to be even more fun. So, I began the tradition of decorating when the child went to bed. They would wake up in the morning to decorations IN THEIR ROOM along with all their birthday presents and donuts (we are healthy eaters, so this was like candy). Their birthday essentially became like Christmas morning.

However, as they got older, they no longer went to bed at 7:00. And frankly, I simply did not have the stamina to wait until they fell asleep to decorate their room; these little homeschoolers (like many I know) were late nighters. Okay, so I decided to decorate the kitchen after they went to their bed, setting up a wonderful surprise when they came down in the morning.

Then, as time wore on, this task became increasingly more difficult as their bedtime got later and later (can anyone relate?). When I was dog tired, I found myself decorating the kitchen until later than my bedtime, until (drum roll, please) the kids suddenly decided that THEY wanted to decorate the house for the birthday child. I helped the first few years - showing them the special techniques for making streamers twist and how to place them just so. Now, they do it all. Every year, as these kids get older, the decor gets more elaborate, creative and exciting.

Last birthday, they set up a trap where the birthday child could not get into the kitchen (where all the donuts and presents gleamed in the distance) unless they broke through a barrier of paper - whereupon thirty ballons were positioned to fall on their head.

It's a fun tradition we have. My only worry is that they will one day find it disappointing to wake up and find that their college roommate or their husband/wife has not decorated the house in honor of their birthday while they slept. Am I setting them up for hardship later on? Well, at least they'll have great memories of their family on their birthday.