Birthday Traditions: A Guest Post by Katie Sluiter

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Katie Sluiter is a thirty-something wife, mom, and teacher who blogs about the shenanigans of her life over at Sluiter Nation. She is a PPD and anxiety disorder survivor who loves to read, write, and hang out with her family and friends. Reading and writing has taken such a big part of her life that she also has a reading blog: Katie’s Bookcase. She has also recently decided to start training for a 5K in her attempt to support the fight against breast cancer and, really ALL cancer. She is a contributing author to the blog, Running Between Tweets, which recounts a number of twitter friends who have taken on the challenge.

Um…so…I love birthdays. A lot. I think they are the bees knees. And most specifically I love MY birthday. So when Rebecca asked for a guest blogger for a birthday series? Um, yes…I will do that. And since it’s for her adorable little girl who is turning two? I will even add a few pictures. Yes, you are very welcome.

I don’t remember my first birthday—I don’t know many who do—but I am almost positive that my parents did not go “all out” for me. That was not their style. There was no ballpit or bouncy house or pony rides back in March of 1979 to help me celebrate my first year. But what they did do? And always did for all my birthdays? They made me feel special.

I don’t remember those first birthdays, but there are pictures somewhere of me sitting with my grandparents in front of a cake with pink streamers all around. There is also a picture somewhere of me wearing a birthday crown to school in second grade.

My parents didn’t have a lot, but they always made sure that we had great birthdays. We always got to pick our birthday dinner (I STILL always pick my mom’s homemade chicken salad and blueberry muffins) and our cake (mine is STILL my mom’s homemade icecream cake).

When we were kids, my mom’s whole side of the family came over and we made the birthday party a whole day event. My mom’s three sisters and their families and my grandma would come over on a Sunday near our birthday around noon (after church of course!) and we would have a HUGE dinner complete with a kiddy table. Then we would have dessert. Not cake. Not yet. We would have dessert like pie or something.

After we were all stuffed the ladies would do the dishes and gossip while the men would watch some game on TV or—if it was nice—sit around outside while we kids ran around playing.

Later, it would be present time! The birthday kid would sit in the middle of the room with all his/her presents and all the cousins would surround him/her to “help”. Since I LOVE being the center of attention? This was my favorite part! Presents would be ripped into, pictures would be snapped, and then my mom would make me try on EVERY piece of clothing I just got…including bathing suits. And I would have to come out and “model” it to see that it fit. And to have more pictures taken.

After presents we would all go back to lounging/playing/chatting for a while longer. Then it was cake time! Again the birthday kid would be surrounded by everyone and the singing would begin. Then a pause and wait for it….wait for it…WAIT FOR IT…candles get blown out and someone would snap “that picture” you know the one (see below if you don’t), and then everyone would cheer for all the candles being blown out. We still do this ritual (as evidenced by the picture).

I loved our birthday traditions so much as a kid! And as soon as I found out I was pregnant with Eddie I started dreaming of creating birthday traditions for him too! In fact, I started planning his party just after Christmas (he was 6 months old)!

We went all out for him—as “all out” as we could with our current budget. All his friends and family were there to help him celebrate!

 We had a meal: Jimmy Johns and assorted salads and chips. I believe eating is the tie that binds, so we did our best to provide a yummy time to chat and laugh.

Then it was present time. I almost cried with delight when, after sitting down by the presents on a sheet with him, all his little friends gathered around him. Just like when I was little!

And of course there was cake! Just like I remember from my childhood, everyone gathered around to sing to my little guy! He loved it! And of course they all cheered when he (ok when I) blew out the candle. He even clapped for himself!

Birthdays are so very important. They are that one day a year that is ours. All ours. It is a reminder that without that day? We would not be here and the world would be a different, less fun place.

So happy birthday, to the little bzzing baby!! I hope your day is very, VERY special!

I just want to say a quick thank you to Katie, for this wonderful post.  And if you haven't already checked out Katie's blogs, then you definitely should!


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