Growing up, my birthday was always during the worst part of the year. Instead of enjoying a fun outdoor party, the first week of June always seemed to be a major disappointment. I was no longer in school, so I could not bring cupcakes to share with the class. It often rained and sometimes snowed. As I got older, I was either gone babysitting for my aunt through the summer or my parents left on vacation. There are very few memories I have of my own birthday.
Then my boys blessed my life. Born exactly 2 years and 2 days apart, I swore that each of them would feel special and have individual birthdays. I quickly took that back as I schemed to do a super birthday bash to save time and money. My youngest son had health problems that were a constant battle in his younger years and that first year took a huge toll on us. I looked at his birthday as a celebration of his life. He had made it to one! There were times I wondered if he ever would.
At that time, my oldest son loved Spongebob Squarepants so that’s what I focused on. I rented a costume and sewed a large fry cook hat to cover the wearer’s exposed head, so the kids would think it really was Spongbob coming to visit–not my good friend in a ridiculous costume. It worked. At 3 and 1, they didn’t know the difference! See that little guy in the red shirt on the right? That’s my 9 year old. I’m so glad I have moments like this because I’d forgotten how cute and chubby he was. The girl with the long hair is his preschool girlfriend. I can just hear him saying “Mom you’re embarrassing me,” but I don’t care.
Kids were running every direction, jumping, screaming, spilling juice and I couldn’t be any happier. They played pin the tie on Spongebob, had cake and ice cream, opened presents, jumped in a bounce house my mom bought for the party (and years to come.)
When the noise had vanished and the mess cleared away, my mom and I kicked our feet up. Exhausted she said, “I really hope you had enough fun and you never put us through that again.” But the truth is that party was the best day ever (in the voice of Spongebob) and I’m now living my birthdays vicariously through my children.
Since then, we’ve fought Davey Jones for the map to the treasure chest
and got our faces painted, spun cotton candy, rode a pony, played games for prizes, and even stuck our head in a lion’s mouth at a rainy day carnival.
Every other year, my biggest challenge is finding the right theme for a birthday bash. It’s got to be something both of my kids will love and the activities now have to be appropriate for guests whose ages range from 2 to 9. I was really at a loss for ideas this year…until I saw this.
Who doesn’t love shiny red helmets and firetrucks?