Scrambling to the finish

Birthday cake
Image by lorda via Flickr

Motherlode has a post about all the many activities that take place at the end of the year.  The comments are really kind of funny.  There’s the ones that commiserate, listing all the activities they’re participating in at the end of the year.  There are the complainers that this is too much and they’re not wasting their vacation days on silly end-of-year parties.  There are the pragmatists who say they go to what they feel like.  And there are the anti-child people (only a couple) who are grateful they don’t have kids.

The end of school has always been crazy for us, with our kids’ birthdays being on the 5th and 7th of June.  Not only are we running around to various end of school events, but also planning our own parties and often visits from relatives.  I was never so glad when we moved to this neighborhood and parties turned out to be really low-key events, with parents sometimes calling us a few days in advance to come over for pizza and cake, gifts optional.  One parent in the comments commented that the original poster was contributing to the end of the year pandemonium by having parties for her kids.  Why not skip it?   My kids have had friends with birthdays near the end of the year who postpone until July or August, or who even pick a random day in say, November, to have a party.

This year, neither kid is having a party.  Geeky Boy, turning 16 tomorrow, has organized some friends to go out for a sushi dinner together at a place within walking distance of our house.  We’ve offered to cover the cost and provide rides, but he doesn’t want us there.  We’ll do something as a family tonight probably.  Geeky Girl, who turns 12, and whose birthday, for the first time, falls after the end of the school year, is opting to maybe possibly do something later in the summer.  Her friends, who found out she’s not doing anything formal, have offered to organize something.  So that might or might not happen.  Her choice for family activity is to go spend time on a boardwalk at the Jersey shore.  She wants to ride rides and play games, eat fries and ice cream and maybe have a nice dinner on the way home.  Geeky Boy is also mostly on board for this.

So, big parties for us are ramping down.  I suspect the next big one will be Geeky Boy’s graduation in a couple of years.  I was explaining to the kids that I don’t even remember having birthday parties when I was their age.  A friend and I coordinated a 16th together, but before that and after that, I don’t remember much special.  I remember attending parties with cake and ice cream and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, but only from say, kindergarten to 3rd grade.  Middle school was the age of “boy-girl” parties, hosted any time, without waiting for a birthday.  These consisted of pizza and soda and chips, and sometimes cake if we were celebrating something.  There was music and dimmed lights and games of spin-the-bottle.  I don’t think things like this happen anymore.

I’ve always taken a very low-key approach to these kind of kid activities as well as the school ones.  I went when I could, but if I couldn’t, so be it.  And the kids seem no worse for the wear.  How about you?  How big a deal do you make about different kinds of celebrations?

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