Birthdays at our house are full of tradition. We make the birthday child's favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner. There will surely be balloons and streamers and crazy "Happy Birthday" messages on the bathroom mirror. We even blow up balloons, one for each year, and put them in their room while they are sleeping so they wake up to balloons that number their new age.
I love birthdays! I love to celebrate this wonderful milestone with fun themed birthday parties and homemade cakes with princess bodies sticking out the top or a big Lego cake.
Birthdays for kids from hard places are not easy. We all enjoy being celebrated. But for these little ones, the ideas and expectations of the celebration are often too much to handle. Our two littles have their birthdays one day apart. Sunshine is first and the next day is Little Buddy.
Their first year home we tried for simple celebrations with family. We tried to keep it low key. It went ok. Their expectation was bigger than life. So they were both disappointed with what actually happened.
Last year we tried again. I planned a low key day. I learned to discuss what was going to happen on their day with the child. That way they would know what to expect and what not to expect.
For each child I scheduled a special date in the middle of the day with mom. We had family over for dessert and shot silly string at the cousins. It was fun, but their hearts were so torn on each others special day. When it was Sunshine's day, Little Buddy was mad that it wasn't his day and the next day on his day, Sunshine was mad that it wasn't her day.
It was difficult to handle these emotions while still celebrating the birthday child.
As their birthdays approached this year, I began to feel anxious. I wanted to celebrate them without the chance of the emotions and expectations getting in the way. I also wanted to throw a party that was a bit bigger with friends and family. I knew they both wanted to have a "friend" party.
So here is what I did and it was GREAT! I threw a surprise party for both of them the week before their birthdays. They each have a rest time in the afternoon. That gave us some time to put up the streamers and balloons and such.
When I brought them downstairs and told them the news they were so excited! They put on special clothes and waited by the door to see who was coming! It was so much fun!
Stand-Up Dad with Little Buddy and Sunshine.
I love Little Buddy's green teeth! Good frosting!:)
The party was simple and just perfect for them. We ate dinner with family and friends and competed in an obstacle course (a family favorite.) We had a pinata full of candy and water balloon fights.
Little Buddy is growing so fast! He is six years old and super smart! He loves to play with his big brother. He is becoming a master lego builder and is super fast on his scooter! He has SO much love in his wee little heart that he shares daily. He brings so much joy to our home!
Sunshine is happiest when she is helping or playing with Sweet Pea. I am beyond grateful to God that He chose to bring these precious children into our home. I told them the other day that I couldn't imagine my life without them in it. I really can't.
The lesson I have learned over the last three years of birthdays is... traditions are wonderful, but to celebrate children from hard places you might have to think out of the box. The day might look different than the tradition and that is ok. Actually it can turn out perfectly!