So, I don’t know if I’m a particularly obsessive person or if I just worry about making things perfect. My children’s birthdays have always provided extra worries. 

Last week, my baby celebrated his golden 13th birthday. In December, this birthday offers little opportunity for outdoor play so we usually rely on the bowling alley. However we learned this week the bowling alley is now closed on Mondays. That brought us to a pizza parlor which had two video game machines. This was not what I had imagined for my son’s big day but it was pretty fun to hear him giggle with his buddies over sausage with green peppers and soda. 

Prior to school that day, I threw 13 balloons over his bed before waking him up. We had 13 little posters taped up throughout the house. And I packed his lunch with 13 raspberries, 13 blueberries, 13 crackers and 13 cupcakes to pass out to friends. Unfortunately, the 13 cinnamon rolls we had sitting on the counter were eaten by our dog while we were out. 

While it was great to hear him tell me “it was the best day ever,” I do have to admit I was happy when we awoke to Dec. 14.

I remember when our daughter was about 8. She wanted a “circus-themed, puppy” party. Somehow I made it happen. We borrowed a cotton-candy machine and set up several circus games throughout the yard (it was August). I purchased plastic puppies for prizes and props. She loved it!

When I asked what we did for her golden birthday, she reminded me we were in Canada at our family cabin. Upon learning it was her birthday, the nearby resort owner drove the 50 miles to town to purchase a cake and gift. He even brought all of his guests to our cabin for a party - in a boat in the rain, nonetheless! She says, to this day, it was her favorite birthday ever.

Thinking back to some of the birthday parties my mother organized, I feel blessed. One time, she picked up several of my girlfriends before high school for a “come as you are” party. They were dressed in their pajamas with messy hair and we ate breakfast together. Another time, she arranged a surprise party for my 40th. It was great. My in-laws even made the trip to Grand Rapids to join us.

While birthdays come and go, it’s fun to remember the nice gestures those close to us do to make us happy. 

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