October 3, 2011

How to make a Big Boy's birthday celebration special

I know I said I wasn't going to get all mushy, gushy over Man-Child's 17th birthday.....and I didn't then.

But let's talk about the aftermath.

First of all, you have to remember that I've had years and years and years of party planning for the little guy.  What kind of theme?  What kind of cake?  What kind of gift?  Who to invite?  The venue?  The decorations?

And on and on and on.

Then he got to be a "big" kid; but still the parties/events were a big to do around here.

Last year, it was a rather subdued event and I felt horrible about it.

So THIS was the year to make it all right again; finances be damned!

I asked and I asked.  Over and over again; what did he want to do?  What was the one "special" thing he wanted.

All to no avail.

I know this kid.  Celebrations of any kind are to be treated BIG!  That's the way he was raised.

But he was also raised to be empathetic to others - and he knows that we are in a bind.  So I knew that he wasn't going to ask for anything simply because he didn't want to put any guilt on us by asking for something we couldn't possibly provide right now.

I took last Friday off for the express purpose of dealing with birthday stuff.  When Friday dawned, I still had no clear idea of what to do for him.  It was making me crazy to the point of tears.

At one point, I had an epiphany.  In a random conversation earlier in the week, he'd mentioned a concert he would love to see - so I jumped online and saw that the tickets were super cheap.  As my finger was hovering over the "Buy Now" button I mentioned the gift to Hubby.  Ever practical man that he is, he asked when the concert was going to be held.  I replied on Friday, October 14th!  I was so excited, because THIS was a gift he would want and wouldn't have too wait to long to enjoy it.

Hubby immediately burst my bubble with the reminder that Friday nights are currently reserved for football.  I was crushed.  But I knew he was right - even though this was something Man-Child really, really wanted he would NOT skip a game just to go to a concert.

After spending the majority of the day between tears and determination to find the perfect gift, we decided cash was the way to go.

I was heartbroken.  How could this possibly be a great birthday with nothing planned and no awesome gift waiting to be opened?

Saturday came - a bright and beautiful day, albeit a cold one (which was a shock - it's usually not this cold this early in the season!).  Man-Child spent the day with us.  Hubby took him out to play pool for a bit (one of Man-Child's favorite pastimes) and for a little "guy" time.  When they came home, I harassed MC about what he wanted to do for dinner.

He finally picked a restaurant where we went and had a great time and a wonderful meal.

Upon arriving home, he ate the dessert I had made and declared it perfect.  And then went out to spend the evening with friends.  (Just because I thought it was HILARIOUS, I want to share this.....his buddies bought him a cake for his birthday.  But they didn't have any candles so they decided to light matches and just stick them into the cake.  Apparently, they didn't have any clue about how just quickly matches burn!  The image alone still makes me laugh!  Boys!)

But I went to bed with a heavy heart, somehow feeling that I had failed to make this birthday "special" enough for him.  I was especially sad because I knew that this would be our last birthday under one roof.

On Sunday, we had the "friends-that-are-so-close-they-should-be-family" over for lunch and cake.  MC has known most of these people for the majority of his life.  He doesn't get to see them as often anymore since they've moved, we've moved, certain family circumstances have changed and the fact that he is a teenager and has his own life now.

A good time was had by all, with a few hiccups along the way (which I may or may not address at some point.  For now, we'll just leave it with the fact that there was "surprise" guest).  And, I must note that one of the "younger" set (he's about 4) was convinced that Man-Child was turning 70 and not 17 - which caused much hilarity for the rest of us.

As I was headed to bed last night - still feeling a little sad - Man-Child pulled me over and gave me a big hug. And then thanked me for making his birthday weekend so special.

And I admit.  I cried when I got upstairs.

And I admit.  I might still be crying now.


  1. Now, Momma Gigi, it doesn't have to cost a fortune, to be "Special"

    I'd be willing to bet he will remember it fondly.

  2. How sweet. It almost made ME cry, too! Such a sweet kid, Gigi. You are so fortunate to have him notice what you tried to do for him. :-)

  3. Awe! That is a pretty great kid you have raised. It sounds like he didn't need the hooplah, everything you did was perfect. Good job Mom.

  4. Aawh it sounds lovely, many happy returns to the MC and huge big congratulations to you (and hubby) they don't turn out like that all by themselves :) xx

  5. What a sweet, beautiful post! I'm so glad that he had a wonderful birthday...and the image of the matches stuck in the birthday cake made me giggle too. Don't you wish you had a photo of THAT?!!

  6. Aw, he sounds like a fantastic son. And that does sound like a lovely birthday.

  7. Hope Man Child enjoyed his birthday Xxx

  8. awww, arent boys the best??
    My daughter just turned 16 a week ago. And I didnt cry, until we were sitting in a restaurant, and I looked at her, and had this vision of her when she was two and was STILL bald, and i just burst into tears....
    Sounds like you got yourself a good kid!!!

  9. Your boy sounds like such a good guy. I think he'll remember getting to spend time with his friends and family the most. You did great!

    And matches as candles--hahaha!

  10. Obviously, you made the day very special to him!! The dessert sounds delish- may have to try it!!

  11. Sniff...sniff...so sweet of him to hug and thank you. Firstborn's 16th birthday is coming up next month and I'm clueless and he seems unconcerned. I'm taking notes from you...no matter what I do, in my mind it won't seem like enough. I think I'll just follow his lead. Boys are different than girls and their crazy Sweet 16 parties.

  12. Awww that brought tears to my eyes...I am constantly thinking of my 17 year old and thinking that's the last time we'll ...do this and that altogether. Makes me so so sad. The time goes far too quickly. I'm sure MC had a lovely birthday though. xx