All of our birthdays are sort of squished in between the holidays.  Mine comes three days after Halloween; Jake’s is a week later; Adeline’s is the 27th which makes it very near Thanksgiving.  I always feel like there’s this continuous blur of sugar, from trick-or-treat candy to birthday cake to pumpkin pie and then Christmas cookies.  There’s so much busy-ness and planning for the holidays that I worry about Adeline’s birthday sort of getting lost in the shuffle.

What I mean by that, of course, is I worry that my plans for her birthday will get lost in the shuffle, because for a kid it doesn’t take much to make a birthday special.  Adeline was on cloud 9 the whole day, and not really because of any particular thing we did or gave her, but simply because it was her birthday.  The thing is, I don’t think my plans are ever too over the top, and yet somehow I still can’t manage to pull off everything I’d like to.

This year there were extenuating circumstances; we traveled to my parents house for Thanksgiving, and Jake ended up getting sick the day before we were supposed to leave.  So we stayed an extra day and didn’t get home til the evening before Adeline’s birthday.  There simply was not enough time to unpack, finish sewing the Sleepover Pals from Wee Wonderfuls, go to the grocery store, make the cake, wrap the presents, and make ricotta cheese from a gallon of milk that was about to go bad.  Especially after I spent a good 20 minutes consoling a tearful Adeline at bedtime, when she suddenly declared that she didn’t want to turn four, but wished to remain three forever and never grow bigger.  That was something I hadn’t accounted for.

Anyway, it seemed simple in my head: sew a few dolls, bake cupcakes, make a nice dinner.  Nothing elaborate.  And yet there were no dolls.  No homemade cupcakes (again!).  She wasn’t terribly thrilled about the easel we gave her.

But there was ice cream cake.  And balloons.  And a lovely, last-minute gathering with a few good friends.  There were candles to blow out (which she did after declaring her wish: to go ice skating right now).  And there was lasagna made with homemade ricotta cheese.  And there was a happy little girl who had no idea that her mother’s expectations for the day had not been fulfilled.

Next year, though, there will be a homemade cake!

PS — My friend Gi made Adeline’s super cute polka-dot apron.


7 thoughts on “four

  1. Oh, happy birthday to your beautiful four-year-old! Lots of birthdays this past week, it seems… I try to bear in mind, when things don’t all go exactly as I plan them, that what *I* remember the most from childhood isn’t how perfect (or imperfect) our celebrations were, but rather how much love went into them. Sounds like your daughter had a lovely day to me! xo

  2. kids are easy to please, aren’t they? i think abram would have been satisfied with cake and balloons for his birthday! it makes me wonder why i go to the trouble of… all the other stuff. i suppose we just want to make it special, yes?

    when i was little, it was very important to me that my birthday wasn’t overshadowed by the holidays (impossible, since it is Christmas Eve), and my mom never failed to make it extra special for me. however, as i grew up i found the best thing about my birthday was that i got to spend it with my family; no one ever had to work or go to school, and sometimes even my extended family would be there. so what if everyone was actually gathered together for Christmas? so what if everyone else got to open a present on my birthday? what i really want to instill in my children is that a birthday is made special by celebrating it with the people you love!

    ps–LOVE that apron. 😉

  3. I love this! Happy 4th Birthday, Adeline. So hard to believe that she’s four. I have found that my daughters would be much happier with a store-bought cake, a messy house, an easy dinner, and a relaxed mother-versus an overly tired (and cranky) mother from trying to do it all. I know there’s a balance there and I tend to find it! I have Natalie’s 3rd birthday on the 18th…
    P.S. Homemade ricotta cheese? Yum. You’ll have to post the recipe…

  4. Pingback: five | making life

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