We’re weird. We do things like binge watch Star Wars, which you know if you’ve read any of my other posts. I even had a piece published at Babble about how I suspected I was raising Darth Vader and proud. We embrace our weird. Our oldest thinks Malificent is the hero of the Disneyverse. To be fair she was both badass enough to cast the powerful curse and redeemable enough to provide the kiss of pure love that broke it. Our youngest calls every Disney princess “Anna” because that’s her favorite. Pocahontas? Dark haired Anna. Elsa? Mean, cold Anna. We do nothing to correct her. We spend way, way too much time debating the talent level of athletes we’ll never meet. What do you mean LeBron choked? A choke is what Tony Romo did but, c’mon, the resultant “that’s my quarterback” shitshow was one of the most endearing spectacles I’ve ever seen. I liked everyone involved exponentially more after. We know we’re oddballs. We just don’t care.
We also don’t do birthday parties. Not for each other. Not for our girls.
There’s really no deep seated, dark backstory-ish reason why. I just don’t like them. I don’t like the planning, the money spending, the running around like a chicken sans head because I don’t do well in planned social situations and don’t feel like it’s appropriate to be chugging from a wine glass at said party. I don’t like stuffing gift after socially required gift in my trunk along with a plethora of cardboard but somehow still ridiculously expensive themed decor that we have to both put up and take down. I just don’t like it.
So, we don’t. Instead, we’ve gotten in the habit of taking our two beauties away for their special days. For Lou’s second birthday we went to Disney World and made some of my favorite memories. For the entire day we were there (perspiring in the July heat) Lou’s eyes were like quarters. There was once I leaned over to her dad to ask, “Has she been blinking?” She loved it. We loved that she loved it. At every bend in the path or quiet moment standing in line I whispered in her sweat damp hair, “Happy birthday, baby.” For Maxa’s first birthday we whisked them off to the Wisconsin Dells and one of the place’s signature water parks. There Maxa learned how to aim a water gun at her sister. It was a light bulb moment for her and another of my favorite memories. We didn’t do anything that extraordinary. For a weekend we ate dinners out, launched down watersides, and watched our babies get another day older. We did it all knowing that eventually, too soon, we will have to share them on their birthdays. In a few years birthdays will be about friends and classmates. For the moment, their dad and I are their best friends. I’m going to hoard that like a cat lady.
That’s my main reason for not doing parties. I’m selfish. I’m also not sorry. On their special days I want to be one of the only two adults to catch them up in my arms, to see them light up at something new or unexpected. And, that night after they’ve fallen asleep in the bed across the hotel room from us, I want to roll over to my husband and say “do you remember where we were” two, three, four years ago. In the hospital. Waiting for them. Waiting for the wonderful, unseen changes they would bring into our lives.
This year it’s a tossup between Pittsburgh, where we could visit the National Aviary, and taking birthday girl Maxa to a dinner and theater production of Beauty and the Beast. She’d love either. In some ways I’m so excited. I’m excited to see her and her sister experience something new, see those amazing gears in their minds working. In other ways though I’m sad. Sad she, our littlest, our baby, is two already. Two and potty trained. Two and running. Two and able to sass her sister in spectacular fashion. Two and growing. Always growing.
So we’re weird. We don’t do birthday parties. And, weirdly, it’s one of our best parenting decisions. I’m never going to look back at this time, slipping through my fingers like sand, and say, “Man, I wished we’d shared their birthdays with everyone else.”