The pendulum has swung.
Yesterday was my son Jake’s 12th birthday, and there couldn’t have been less hoopla. Not unless he was Harry Potter and still living in the cupboard under the stairs. No, I should correct myself. It’s not so much the hoopla quantity as it is the hoopla quality that counts.
When Jake was smaller, I was all about the big birthday. Family get-togethers! A dozen balloons! Major outings! All class parties! Homemade food! LOTS of homemade food!!!! Now that Jake is a big guy—and a cool guy at that—I’m all about the low key birthday. And, let me tell you, thank goodness he lets me get away with it.
I mean, if I were him, and didn’t have a summer birthday, and was stuck going to school AND to a mandatory scout meeting in the evening of MY BIRTHDAY, I would have been just a little bit of a pouting grouch. But Jake seemed to like it. When I delivered 6 inch (yes, homemade) chocolate chip cookies to his class, he actually seemed to enjoy it. When he got 3 rounds of presents from his dear old Dad and me, he seemed to revel in it. And when the presents gave way to an after-meeting, school night video game session, he actually seemed to glory in it.
I didn’t my low key treatment of the birthday would be enough, but it was just right. And I’m glad, because there’s that one birthday that I had as a kid, that didn’t even feel like a birthday, and I’m still bitter about it. For the life of me, I don’t remember anything about any other birthday I ever had, but darn if I don’t remember the one not-so-good one. My best friend forgot. We ate out at some diner. I might as well have eaten worms. Ugh. Why don’t I remember the good ones, huh? It’s just like me.
I know that birthdays can’t all be the best. But I’m glad that I’ve struck the right note this year, at least for Jake. And you know what? I just realized. My birthday’s next in the family.