The Birthday Party.
This year my son’s fifth birthday landed on Thanksgiving Day. We celebrated it alongside Thanksgiving, so while his birthday was recognized it wasn’t the center of our family gathering. In the past, we just combined the two without much thought, since he was too young to know different. But now he was turning five years old, and had been to other kids’ birthday parties, so it was time to throw him a proper party.
We decided to host a party for him at a local trampoline park one week later. This would be the first non-family party we’d be throwing for him, which meant he’d be handing out invitations to his preschool class for the first time. This made me nervous. I had no idea how many kids would want to come to his party, and I was worried that a low turnout would make my son feel bad. So he handed out the invites, and we waited.
The turnout was modest, but the outcome was spectacular.
When someone from his class arrived at the trampoline park, my son’s face would light up with recognition. He’d call his classmate by name, hug them, and run off with them to the trampolines. As more guests showed up, they congregated on one of the park’s single trampolines to all play together. When it was time for pizza and cake, everyone sat together happily with no one excluded. My heart damn near exploded.
This was a thrilling day for me. My boy has, for the most part, been the type of kid to go off and do his own thing. I’d have to wrangle and convince him to play with other kids. Now? He’s seeking kids out, excited to play with them, and they’re excited to play with him. Seeing him with friends that he made on his own was one of those milestone “proud parent” moments.
Here’s hoping his sixth birthday is just as successful, monumental, and happy.