Few things are more of a pleasure than celebrating birthdays and holidays with my family.
Our birthday traditions have been pretty well cemented since my kids were small. Yet time continues to catch me by surprise as our need for the candle spiral and birthday buntings seem to grow closer together year after year.
What is the saying when our children are small? “The days are long but the years are short.” And each year they grow shorted still.
This weekend it was Lupine’s turn to celebrate as we marked her twelfth trip around the sun.
In lieu of a friend party, she had requested that we go as a family to a trampoline park an hour or so from home. It was a ridiculous amount of fun for all of us, and a quiet follow-up day on her actual birthday was just the ticket to rebalance that crazy energy. (And rest our collective sore muscles!)
Have you been to a trampoline park with the people you adore the most? It’s madness, I assure you. And totally not our day-to-day jam. But honestly, I can’t recommend it enough. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard, or jumped so high.
Her desires for her birthday itself were simple: a quiet day at home spent eating favorite meals, wearing PJs, and playing board games together. (Yes, please on all counts!)
She pulled out her favorite games, and we whiled away the day drawing one box after another off the heap. I think we got halfway through the stash below before the day was done.
In the evening as we set out candles and dessert, I found the birthday crown that my sister and I made for her when Lupine turned 2.
It was buried at the bottom of the birthday bin where we keep the buntings, candle spiral, and other celebration necessities. She hasn’t worn it since she was small, having preferred a newer, less juvenile crown that I made her when she was five, or – more recently – none at all.
I jokingly offered the bluebird crown to her last night, and, surprising even herself, she enthusiastically agreed.
I gave her mittens for her birthday the first year she wore this crown. Carefully snipped and sewn from an old cashmere sweater, she adored them. Yesterday, a decade later and with her crown again in place, we repeated that storyline.
New mittens, a beaming smile, and a birthday story by candlelight.
Life changes, children grow, and childhood is fleeting. Yet there are things that – if only through magic – remain poetically the same.
Hang onto your hearts, parents of wee ones. You’re in for a beautiful ride.
Postscript: If you’re curious about our family’s longstanding birthday traditions, there are a zillion posts in the archives if you search “birthday Lupine” or “birthday Sage”.
I also wrote a two part series some eight years ago about our favorite traditions. You can find them here and here. Many of the customs I outline (from the spiral to the story) are still in joyful use. And my free bunting tutorial is here, and my birthday crown pattern is up in my Etsy shop.