Guilt – the Gift of Motherhood that Keeps on Giving…and Giving…and Giving

Peanut’s second birthday is fast approaching. I’m not sure if it snuck up on my because we’ve been so busy this summer going from one thing to the next or if I’m just in denial about it (how can my baby be 2?!).

Whatever the reason, I’m totally not as on top of it as I was last year. Last year there were hard copy invitations that went in the mail to family. There was a theme. A schedule. Decorations that were hand made well in advance. Special cakes. Hors d’oeuvres. A mess of family in town. Handmade favors for peanut’s pals.

This year, not so much. And it’s not that I don’t care – I do, deeply. I want him to have a special day. I want to start building up that bank of birthday memories and traditions. But, due to several very legitimate reasons, it’s looking like most of our family won’t be able to come down for his birthday. Although this makes me sad and disappointed, I understand, I truly do. So, what to do, what to do?

These are the moments when I’m almost tempted to pack it up and move back home. Not that this would solve anything, in fact, it would cause more problems than I care to deal with (jobs, a crappy real estate market to try to sell our home, the fact that I actually really like it here), but when I think about how much easier events like birthdays would be for peanut…

And then I remember that all of my birthdays after age 5 were spent with just my nuclear family and I certainly don’t feel slighted or any worse for it. There were always lots of cards in the mail (always with the best sentiments in the text underlined by grandma), calls in the evening, presents from the family with breakfast, your favorite dinner, a cake. Some years there were parties with friends at McDonald’s, the ice skating rink, the roller rink, sleep overs.

So this year, we’ll keep it small (and mean it!). We’ll have a special family dinner and cake, even if it is just for the hubby, peanut and me. Maybe we’ll go on a special outing. And then we’ll totally steal a great idea a friend did for her little one and schedule a weekday play date with peanut’s pals with a few special treats to commemorate his birthday.

And I’ll try not to feel guilty that there isn’t a petting zoo, a clown, a moon bounce or a room full of relatives on peanut’s special day. To assuage that guilt, I’m sure I’ll go overboard making a crazy cake for peanut. Hmmm…an elephant? A lion? A whole zoo? A train complete with caboose? Oh, the possibilities are endless!

As is my denial that my baby is going to be 2! Can’t be. Really? Nah. Don’t believe it. Are you sure? Oh my, I think I need some cake NOW!

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3 thoughts on “Guilt – the Gift of Motherhood that Keeps on Giving…and Giving…and Giving

  1. The birthday party thing is crazy. My kids are about to be one, and their birthday actually falls on the day when we’ll be at a big ol’ family reunion, so I’ll get some cake for everyone to share. But then we head back home, where we have basically no family. I finally told M we were having a BBQ for their birthday party, so I wouldn’t be able to look back and not actually have done ANYTHING for their birthday. But yeah, no themes, no petting zoo. An evite, the grill, and maybe a fun cake. That’s about it…

  2. We always make birthdays very special but decided long ago that the kids will not have birthday parties every year. It seems to make them less special and more expected, and I don’t like that. I had three major birthday parties when I was growing up, and I remember each one. That is how we will do it. Happy birthday to your sweetie.

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