Spending time is more important than spending money on your child’s special day
By Theresa Blume
On Oct. 1 I turned another year older, although, I am not going to tell you which year.
My mom always made a homemade cake and then the whole family sang the birthday song just before we blew out the candles. Back then I could blow out all my candles. I appreciate those examples of celebrating individuals in a large family because it has given root to my own family traditions.
In elementary school my kids made cupcakes the night before to share with the class on their birthday. However, one year my son’s birthday caught me by surprise. I completely forgot about his day to bring treats, and the next morning I was in a panic. I sent him to school treat-less, promising to bring something that afternoon.
I frantically searched my kitchen looking for something to take, but the pantry was void of help. I opened the refrigerator door and found inspiration. Our favorite family treat was donuts made from refrigerated biscuits. I just happened to have enough biscuits on hand.
I poured a big kettle of oil, shaped them into donuts, and started frying. After dusting each hot donut with powdered sugar, I had just enough for each child plus the teacher. I was met by my son’s relieved smile at the school door as I quickly handed him the still warm donuts. He told me that his friends said he had the best treat ever.
Bringing treats was a challenge, but it was easier than the expected parties. When my oldest son was in kindergarten, I reserved a room at a pizza place in LaGrange, Texas, where we lived at the time, and sent out invitations to every child in his class. I figured only half of them would show up. I ordered pizzas and got a bag of balloons and a cake. I was hyperventilating from blowing up balloons when they started to arrive.
Every single kid was dropped off, and the parents quickly sped away. Kindergarteners were scrambling on chairs, standing on top of tables, spilling drinks, and spinning paper plates like Frisbee discs. They ate more than I had ordered. It became riot-like with little tikes yelling, “Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!”
As years have passed, kids seem to expect more because they are used to getting more.
Presents and parties may be more extravagant, but that is not what makes the child feel special. It is the quality time you spend with them that really gets the point across. They might complain about not having the latest technological toy, but at least they can brag that they have the best parent. I still have a framed paper from a time my son wrote about why his mom is special, and that was after the donuts.