I just can’t believe it — a week ago today my baby turned 5 years old!
Parts of me have been excited about this milestone in the same way that I was excited about him starting Kindergarten back in February. The other parts of me are well aware of this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach because my newborn turned into a baby and then a toddler and now he’s a little boy.
A few weeks ago I started organizing my photos so I could access them easier and so I could back them up on cd and flash drive. There were several times I was moved to tears from seeing pictures of Josiah as a baby and seeing videos of him barely getting the words to Jesus Loves Me out where you could understand them. Where did my baby go? Yes, I know the obvious answer is “they grow up so fast” — which by the way is my least favorite saying ever. *Soapbox moment* I mean seriously? Who doesn’t realize that their children are going to grow quickly? I’ve never met anyone that didn’t realize that time flies when it comes to their children. It just frustrates me when people say that to me because it seems overly cliche and makes me think that they really believe I didn’t already know that (there are some that say it just because they don’t know what else to say). *Soapbox moment over*
For years on my birthday people would ask me if I felt different. I thought that seemed kind of crazy, because how does age make you feel different? The day Josiah
turned 5 it was like seeing him differently. It was that realization that the little baby I held in my arms and nursed is no longer a baby — he’s a little boy. These past five years have flown by and I can’t help but think about the fact that the next five years are going to by just as fast. Then what? He’ll be 10 years old. In another five years after that he’ll be 15 and asking about getting a driver’s license and dating. Jimmi hates it when I bring this up because he says I’m rushing it, but I think I’m mentally preparing myself for the fact that no matter how many times you try to remind yourself that “they grow up so fast,” they grow even faster than that.
I see Josiah every day so sometimes the ways he changes and grows go unnoticed by me because I just see a natural progression. It’s when I go back and look at those pictures and see just how different Josiah is even than he was seven months ago when I pulled him out of preschool.
Enough mushy stuff, now onto the actual birthday event.
Our family does birthday’s a little bit differently. Instead of having a big party, we go on a trip. Josiah gets a special gift from us and then we decide on a trip to take together. Last year and this year it was camping. Josiah LOVES camping. After three years of doing birthday parties in which my family sat around while watching Josiah play, we decided that throwing big parties during the early years are a little wasteful.
After all, I don’t see the point in inviting a bunch of kids to a party for their parents to sit around and stare (we don’t have a lot of friends with kids Josiah’s age) while the kids play. Having all of our parents together (Josiah has a Nana, Granddad, Granny, Papa Jerry, Grandma Laura, and Papa John due to divorce) and having a bunch of kids together to play is very overwhelming for us to handle and very overwhelming for Josiah.
Now as Josiah gets older, we will definitely start the party tradition for him when he feels like he’s ready to entertain so many kids at once. If he’s like me, he may never be ready to entertain that many kids at once. I remember two times that I had a birthday party and invited a lot of friends. Most of these friends were from different circles and didn’t really get along. I spent part of the time refereeing and the rest of the time wishing I’d have just had a sleepover with one of my friends. The few birthday parties I went to where there were a lot of kids, I didn’t enjoy because I wasn’t friends with other people in that friend’s circle. It exhausts me trying to entertain that large number of a group. If Josiah is able to do that that’s great and we will accommodate that, but if not, I’m fine with going camping or inviting one or two friends over for a sleepover. Aside from the camping trip we also do individual celebrations with the other two grandparents.
This year for camping we left on Wednesday afternoon and our family didn’t come home until Sunday. This was the first year taking a baby on the trip so Samuel and I ended up coming home Friday night and Josiah got the rest of the weekend with his Dad and grandparents.
He had a blast though. We got him a new fishing pole because the one he had was for a right-handed child and he’s left-handed. We swam and hiked and played lots of games. He never once noticed that he didn’t have a “real party” or that he only got a few gifts (one set of grandparents is paying for soccer camp and one set is paying for Trail Life USA this fall so he got a gift from us and a gift from his other two sets of grandparents). Up until we went camping last weekend he was still talking about our camping trip for his birthday last year.
I love this different approach to birthdays because we’re focusing on the memories rather than the “stuff”. After all, for the most part I can’t tell you what I got for my birthday, but I can tell you about what happened on my birthday.