Three years ago this June, I had a newborn baby girl and a 2 year old who was having a very hard time adjusting to her new status as a big sister. Heck, I was having a hard time adjusting to being a mother of two, and my poor husband was surrounded by overemotional ladies (granted only one of them was an adult). It was summer and it was hot and we were all starting to go a little crazy. We needed some fun and we needed to give each other some extra love.
Despite my sleep deprived brain, I was able to recognize that my little 2 year old needed some special
attention. It was her half-birthday that day and I decided we would make the day all about her. My sweet older girl has a birthday very close to Christmas, so it tends to be one crazy month of birthday and Christmas getting rolled together and the idea of giving her a special day far away from holiday madness was appealing. So we spent the day making half of a birthday cake, decorating, dancing, and being silly. She LOVED it. During a difficult time for her, and for all of us, it was a moment of light and love.
So, a tradition was born. We now celebrate both kids’ half- birthdays and shape the day to fit their needs at the moment. For my oldest who always seems to struggle during those half year developmental periods, it is a moment of relief and levity for all of us. A time to put a positive focus on her and give her some very special attention. For my youngest girl, it’s usually a simpler celebration with the most important thing for her, a lot of dancing and twirling in beautiful dresses. There are no presents at these occasions, and usually it’s just the four of us.
Fiona’s most recent half-birthday celebration was a little different. We are in another crazy time. My husband is again, and I’m afraid always will be, surrounded by overemotional ladies (and still, only one of them is an adult) and we are again in need of some fun and extra love. We are moving from the only home my children have known, our path is not entirely set, it is a time of excitement, trepidation, and anxiety.
My daughter decided that this year, she wanted all of our neighbors at her half-birthday celebration. She spent the morning making invitations and dropping them off. We baked a cake together while her little sister napped. She decorated the living room and her sister helped hang up streamers. It became clear that this party meant more to her than celebrating her new status as a 5.5 year old. She was beginning to say goodbye to her home and her neighbors in her own, special Fiona way.
That night, after dinner, all the neighbors came over. Bearing smiles, hugs, and even (thank God!) wine.
The kids ate the cake and ran around like wild animals, the grown ups talked and laughed. We all stayed up too late, but it was a wonderful, impromptu party.
I will forever be grateful that my 5.5 year old was able to recognize what we as a family needed just at that moment. She knew we needed our friends and she knew we needed a party.
Does your family have any fun traditions? How did they start? I’d love to see the special ways your families celebrate one another or days that are important to you!
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