I know this is going to sound a little cheesy, but I’ve always wanted to be the kind of mom who really uses the “You are special today!” plate. Do you know the kind I mean? It’s red, with lively white writing around the rim, writing that states unequivocally that when it comes to specialness, you (whoever you are) are it.
There are moms (and maybe some of my readers) who manage to use those kinds of plates with astonishing purpose, maybe rotating their placement at the table to recognize a different family member every day of the week or storing the plate until a birthday rolls around and then miraculously remembering (a) where it is and (b) to actually use it.
Unfortunately for my family, I am not that kind of mom. I forget. I misplace. The last birthday party I scheduled was three months after the fact, for goodness sake—you think I’m really going to be able to keep the “You are special today!” plate tradition spinning?
But yesterday, it hit me. Yesterday was January 21st. My birthday is June 21st. It was a half day of school, so I was trying to create a little something out of nothing anyway, and I came up with this scheme: every month, each member of the family, on whatever day of any month corresponds with his or her birthday (the 21st for me, the 25th for Craig, etc.), will have the opportunity to choose some small-scale fun thing to do, buy, or eat, subject, of course, to approval based on cost, time, and availability. My fun thing? Half price slushies at Sonic Drive-in’s 2-4 pm Happy Hour and fajitas for dinner.
Not much, but kind of awesome, no?
In writing this piece and trying to find the “You are special today!” plate online, I happened upon the website for an event planning company called The Special Day. In my once-a-month special-ness project, I may adopt their purpose statement as my own:
The Special Day will be the recognized creator of innovative events and momentous celebrations worldwide. Our eminent clients will exult in awe-inspiring experiences that generate smiles and memories for their distinguished honorees and guests.
The Special Day is about You and Your personalized experience. When it really counts, you can trust The Special Day to understand the significance you place on the special days of your lives. Rest assured… with our planning expertise, dedicated assistance, creative flair and global knowledge, your events will be revered for a lifetime.
My celebrations, momentous? My children, eminent? Their experiences, awe-inspiring? Our events, revered for a lifetime? Maybe, maybe not. More like it, we’ll just be glad if Hayley plans board game night on her special day and we end up without any crying or bloodshed.
I’m sort of over the intentional “making memories” approach to parenting. My approach is more along the lines of enrich them like crazy with stuff that’s fun for all of us and then let the chips fall where they may. I’m about us getting better and better at getting from point A to point B. I’m about helping us—all of us—to see more, do more, learn more, and get more secure with ourselves. For me, the special day thing will be one more way for my kids (and myself) to feel like individuals who have a little control over our lives, who aren’t just subject to the whirlwind that’s going on around us, and who can pause and hand ourselves a nice break once in a while.
Plate or not, I think it might work.