Monday, March 18, 2013

Less is Often More

Last of the birthday posts. Promise.

Thank you for my best happy birthday, Mama!

My son keeps saying this to me with a huge smile filling his little face. The last three days he has partied hard. And he has been loved well.

The longer I have mothered, the more our birthday celebrations have changed. In the early party days we did things up big. Think pony rides and giant inflatables. It was a statement of sorts, to celebrate my children in big, public fashion. But at one particular party, I stopped and noticed my daughter's face. It was the pony party of 2008, and despite the amount of money that had been spent, my daughter was not having fun. Her small face looked sad. The only time she smiled was when the planned activities were over and she was free to run and twirl and dance with her friends. That party taught me a lesson.

As with most things in life, less is often more.

So we slowed things down. Less people, mostly family, sometimes close friends. Not as many planned events, more of allowing each particular child to be who they are. To love what they love. To embrace them turning another year older in a more intimate and personal fashion. And my children started smiling at the thought of their own special day again. We have not celebrated each child less, we have simply been striving for more than the boxed version of typical childhood celebrations.

At three years old, Jack is into cheese burgers and trains. So we gathered grandparents, we ate cheese burgers, and we went to look at trains. And that smile you see on my son's face was there for the entire day. Precious! We blew up balloons, ate cake, and opened carefully selected presents. And that was it. And it was more than enough.

Sometimes, I think as parents, we put the pressure on ourselves. We are the ones who look around at what everyone else has, at what they are able to give their children, be it parties, toys, or experiences, and we think it is our responsibility to keep up. We believe that somehow, if we do less, it means we love our children less.

But my children have taught me that less is often more.

My children don't care about keeping up. They just want to love what they love and to be loved. Those two things are all it takes to produce spectacular smiles. To love and be loved is more than enough.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Jack. You are loved. And you are more than enough.

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