Never having had a birthday party I worry about how to throw one for my son

Never having had a birthday party I worry about how to throw one for my son

All weekend long I have been fretting because my year-old son has been sick. It appears that a cookie he bought on his own at the school bake sale was a bit “weird.”   Going forward I will have to figure out how to teach a five year old to distinguish between salmonella weird and just a different taste weird.  Part of my extreme fretting behaviors this weekend was also due in part to the fact that there was a kid’s birthday party to which to take my son. The kid is sort of the kindergarten bully. All the parents have already seen his cruel behaviors. But the kid is also popular. I didn’t want my son to miss out on going to the party, in particular because it was going to be at LEGOLAND.   However, it was not going to happen.  My son, himself, acknowledged that he couldn’t go. He was worried he would get sick on one of the rides.   Birthday parties kind of give me heartburn.


A human interest story that has gone viral the last few weeks has been that of the kid whose mom posted on Facebook his fear of no one showing up to his party because he had no friends.  That is one of the basic fears that I believe most kids have. Childhood can, at times, be cruel in that way.  The story has stayed with me and was reinforced this weekend when my son was too sick to go to his classmate’s birthday party. I worried about him missing out on something and then having to hear all the kids talk about it. I worried about him feeling left out. I worried about him feeling that everyone has a birthday party except for him. See my son was born in the summer when school is not in session.  We typically go on a foreign trip for his birthday. It is my way of expanding his worldview every year as he gets older. However, all the kids have been having birthday parties at cool places and they ask him when he is having his party.  This all leads to me to worry about how and when to throw him a birthday party.


In my lifetime, I have had only one birthday party. I believe it was when I turned four. There is a photo of me with a birthday cake and another photo of me in the same dress kissing a boy.  I don’t really remember that 4th birthday very well.  Consequently, I feel like I have never had a birthday party. Please do not feel sorry for me.  I have not felt badly about never having had a birthday party. It was just the way things were.  Once I became an income-earning adult, I just never felt like throwing myself a party.   I do celebrate my birthday but it is usually with a museum outing, some cocktails and/ or a trip. I want to move about on my birthday.  Don’t get me wrong. I love birthdays. I remember all my colleagues birthdays. I remember random people’s birthdays I tend to give my team members a free personal day for their birthday. I believe a birthday is a grand thing. I just don’t do parties.


Looking back to when I turned 12 years old, I had just transferred to a new school. I was in the so-called gifted class.  That year was one in which I was trying to fit in and bond with others. But then what year of a teenager’s life isn’t about trying to fit in? My birthday falls at the end of the school year when people are preparing for finals and thinking ahead to the summer.  It was just always kind of forgotten by the masses. Occasionally I would get a cupcake acknowledgement.  I do not remember my 12th birthday at all. I am sure however that I got a musical card from my mother and a hokey sing-along when I got home from school that Wednesday afternoon.   I probably watched the Yankees or Mets game that was on that night while on the phone with my fellow baseball-fan friend.  I was a total mega fan of the New York Mets and a regular fan of the Yankees. That night the Yankees played the White Sox.  I don’t think the Yankees won.

When my son turns 12 he will probably be with this same group of friends he has currently in kindergarten, of which there are only 6 boys (compared to the 12 girls in his class).  If he wants a birthday party then, I will give him one.  This upcoming 6th birthday in the summer?  Well, I will have to just play it by ear.  Regardless of whether we throw him a birthday party, we will celebrate it in grand style.    In any case, I better go buy that “throwing a birthday party for dummies” book.  There is such a book, right?


Inspired in part by the Daily Prompt: Shake it up

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19 replies »

  1. I think is really interesting that your son has never had a birthday party. Actually, I think it’s sort of awesome. As much as the social aspect of having a party is important, I can only imagine the amazing experiences he’s had by getting to travel. I think birthdays should be less about cake and bad decorations and more about doing whatever makes you happy – which in your case, has never been a party. In my wise old age of college-aged, I’m finding that I’d rather have a nice night out with friends than a party anyhow.


  2. Being a parent translates to thinking of your children constantly.The social values of today, whilst different are none-the-less just as important. You are wise in considering your child’s welfare and he will be the better for it. For what it is worth, you are an adult now, you also made it through the maze of challenges that confronted you as a child. It is more than likely the boy you love and care for now, will grow into a wonderful adult, just as you have. He will be fine.B


  3. Oh, but this evokes memories and feelings!
    Some of the birthday parties my 4yo son and I have attended have been fairly extravagant. His have been small gatherings with food and some kind of treats, which has so far proven more than enough for him.
    Most my birthdays growing up were celebrated by family only, apart from my fourth grade one where I overheard the attendees talking about how their moms made them come. I am glad my son is celebrating with a group of friends who will be with him for the long haul, no matter how big or small the party.


  4. Thinking back, I can’t remember most of my childhood birthdays (the ones for which anything was celebrated, anyway). I kind of wish I could remember more moments so I could at least write about them. Anyway, on another note, I hope your son feels better soon and I love your idea of taking kids on a foreign excursion every summer.


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