The other day I was interviewing the girls – where I just informally ask them a series of questions and listen to their answers… “What’s your favorite movie?” “What’s your favorite food?” “What’s your favorite thing to do with grandma?” And so on…
Then I asked Zianne, “What is something mommy is good at?”
And she replied, “Celebrating birthdays!”
It made my heart so glad. There are many things I don’t excel at as a mom. I don’t like playing silly games. I don’t like messes. I will probably never homeschool my girls, because I don’t have the patience.
But when my kids think back on their childhood, I hope they recall: The house was clean and orderly. Dinner was almost always homemade. And my mom sure made our birthdays special.
Because if there is one thing I’m good at it – it’s birthdays. I think I get it from my own mom. I remember all our birthday traditions growing up. Donuts for breakfast, lasagna and homemade chocolate cake for dinner, no chores for the day, and getting to ride shotgun in the car all week. There were also presents and birthday parties… the big and the small acts together reminded us that we were loved and cherished. Our lives were special and worth celebrating.
I want my own daughters to feel the same way. They pick breakfast, lunch, and dinner on their birthdays. I take them on fun outings. I put together gifts they will adore. This year Zianne woke up to a big basket of new art supplies waiting for her on the kitchen table. She chose Chick-fil-a for lunch and also requested chicken nuggets for dinner. I acquiesced to redundancy of nuggets to make her day special.
And whether we gather a few friends or a big crowd, I always throw my kids a party. They pick the theme, with little influence from me. It’s not always Pinterest-worthy, but it’s special for them. So far our parties include: Rockin’ Robin, ABC, Jelly Bean, Beach Party, Gold Bug, and now…
Zianne requested a ballet birthday for months. A friend from church is a ballet instructor, and I thought it would be so fun if she could come give the girls a little lesson. I was able to rent a studio and the whole outdoor play area at our neighborhood YMCA, and it out worked perfectly.
The party started with ten tutu-clad girls in their ballet lesson. They hopped and twirled around the studio for 30 minutes or so and ended their lesson with ribbon dancing to “Can’t Stop the Feeling” before taking a bow. Valerie was amazing. She wore a huge tutu and got into character. I’m pretty sure the girls thought she was a Disney princess, because they bashfully hugged her before the lesson started and requested individual pictures with her at the end.
After the dance portion of the party, the kids ran around on the field outside and we served treats. Zianne requested a rainbow cake, which I whipped up the night before, and a friend of ours made adorable tutu-shaped cookies. After we filled up on sugar, the kids attempted to demolish a giant piñata. It’s a good thing a few big brothers came to the party, because it turns out preschool-age ballerinas don’t excel at piñata-hitting, and the baseball skills of the older brothers were put to good use.
I love that Zianne is getting old enough to recognize the love and care that goes into celebrating birthdays. It’s not about the decorations or the presents, but I hope the time and effort put into the festivities always assure my children that they are adored by their parents and by the Father above.
Tutu napkins and ballet banner
Talitha’s white tutu (we’ve had this for over a year and it’s holding up so well)
If you’re local to Southern California:
Amazing cookies by Twinfully Sweet
Piñatas Villafan (custom-made, huge piñatas for $18)