I’ve recently come to the realization that I’m a do-er not a dreamer. The thought of saying “one day” makes me cringe. I usually say “on this day” when talking about anything in my life. When I was younger and would pine over a cute boy my thought was always to just tell him and get it over with no matter how embarrassing it was- trust when I say- IT WAS VERY EMBARRASSING! Now this does not mean I accomplish everything I want to do, it just means I don’t sulk about it for too long and then regret not doing it. I don’t want to fill myself or anyone else with unrealistic expectations of future endeavors. It’s nice that other people have the capability to hold on to a dream for a lifetime but that’s just not me. This very straight forward thinking pattern has made me clash with many people in my life but the question I keep asking myself is, “How is it affecting my son?”.
The earliest of my memories are filled with my family traveling. We always traveled for my birthday, it was my secret curse for being born so close to Christmas. My parents were hard working and only allowed a week vacation which was usually scheduled around Christmas. We would travel almost exclusively by car to Guatemala, Mexico, California, Texas, New York and Florida. We were not rich by any means but we had a lot of family and a van that held 3 very sarcastic and willing to travel children. As much as my memories of these trips will have shaped who I am today, I still remember missing my birthday… and especially parties. Sure, as an adult I look back and think of how lucky I was to celebrate it in so many different places. From an over buttery cake in Cancun to my Quinceañera with mariachi echoing in my aunt’s garage on a cool Guatemalan night. Maturity has helped me recognize how fortunate I am to have such amazing memories to look back on.My birthday was celebrated no matter where we were. I’m so thankful to my parents to have provided that for me.
Due to my job schedule, I am restricted any travel after September and this year we have planned a trip to Switzerland during my son’s 4th birthday in the early part of the month. Let me just also add that he’s been asking for his skateboarding party since the beginning of this year and talks about it all the time. My immediate reaction is to just break the news to him that we’ll be out of town and will celebrate it with hot chocolate in some cafe in Switzerland. Everyone keeps telling me to have a small get together when we get back. This is where my do-er disorder kicks in: I am mentally incapable of a small birthday. We don’t have small families or few friends…plus his actual school friends is quite a large group. So should I just cancel his birthday this year? Am I in fact sacrificing my tot’s childhood for the opportunity to travel?
For the record he will have a birthday party and it will be at the skate park and his friends and family are all invited to come. I have most of the party planned already and it’s six months away. Over time I can only hope that he will become grateful to have experienced what he has and that it helps shape him to be the man he is capable of being. This is not about being spoiled or having it all. You see, my tot was an ten year miracle. So as the world around me had children and raised them, we went through a lifetime of a marriage. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs as a couple, just like anyone and were able to overcome those hard times together. Our life that was supposed to be filled with family but instead was just two people working through life. Now that my son is here, we are very blessed to have an opportunity to travel with him. We may not be able to provide him with trips all over the world through his whole life but I know that I will not lead him to believe that he can continue on his path without really hard work. Even if that path is to continue to travel.
As I finish this post on the eve of my 14th wedding anniversary,
I wonder if my tot will feel the same as I do now. After all the adventures, will he be more grateful to have had them or would he have just wanted… birthday parties?
I think you are doing the right thing! I often ask these questions myself. Last year we convinced my daughter to go camping for her birthday instead of having a party. The thing is, she loved it! It was the “best birthday ever!” because we got to celebrate as a family in a very special way. This year we are going camping again, but plan on inviting her friends to come with us. The memories of Switzerland will far out-weigh the memories of another birthday party. I don’t remember all my birthday parties, but I do remember all the big trips I took with my family. 🙂