We had the surprise of our lives seven years ago. I was sick, crying over dirty dishes and too tired to move. A wonderful woman in my office at the time suggested I stop by the store on the way home and get a pregnancy test.
A WHAT!!!??? Yea, she said it. And I freaked out.
Hubs and I were married about a year, we just moved back to FL and started new jobs, there was no baby talk whatsoever!
Anyway, our beautiful baby girl arrived that summer and we fell in love.
Fast-forward to the following summers and the birthday parties and presents. Lots and lots of presents. She never wanted for anything! We were so blessed to have friends and family that loved her and thought to get her anything and everything.
Now as a parent to a young child, this was fantastic because of course, my baby girl deserves everything! But as my baby girl got older, she started to expect everything and appreciate less. I began to see this in the passed year or so... her room is FILLED with toys, art supplies, games, doll houses, books, etc and yet she never really took care of anything or wanted to play with her things.
I soon realized I was a guilty member of the party. I wanted to buy her everything for birthdays and Christmas and did! Mostly little things, nothing too extravagant. She has always been very grateful for what she receives but will soon shove it in a corner or leave it behind the car and oops! Someone runs it over...
She is a kid and this is not uncommon behavior I get it. But I started to think of a more minimalistic approach for her upcoming birthday.
I was only buying her one present.
Call me mean mom but I loved the idea. She would get one thing that she needed and anything else would be "experiences."
On the day of her birthday she woke up with her balloons like she does every year and ran downstairs to see her presents. She only had two. Her first present was Star Wars decor for her new room from Nana and Papa and the other was a Renaissance Adventure Camp from Papaw and Gigi. She was ecstatic.
Then it was off to get her our present, a new bike. Call me what you want but we went to Play it Again Sports and she picked out a $35 pink and blue Schwinn and loves it! Then off to lunch at a place of her choosing and a stop by the candy shop next door (now you see her train of thought on picking the lunch restaurant!) Next was testing out the new bike with neighborhood friends and having a water fight. I had to call her inside to take a shower, she was not happy! But then I explained we were going to the Boulder Dinner Theatre to see Mary Poppins... in the shower in five seconds. haha We had a fantastic dinner and the show was amazing.
She told me numerous times it was the best birthday ever. Of course initially I felt guilty for not having a big party, but she beamed ear to ear that day.
Saturday was a small gathering at the park with her friends. No frills, no thrills, not even decorations. I did get cupcakes, snacks and drinks because I am not evil!!! She had a great time, totally survived the tiny birthday celebration.
This new outlook is here to stay. I love the idea of spending more energy and money on time and experiences then just stuff. As a mom, I was less stressed and able to actually enjoy her birthday... to sit back and look at my baby girl, see what a beautiful soul she is and how lucky I am to be her mother. I was able to stop and be grateful for our moments together.
Happy Birthday to my amazing, imaginative, beautiful, giving, kind, smart, funny, creative and amazing baby girl. ♥