So I have made it my policy not to let the boys have parties for every birthday. They only get parties for "special" birthdays--like the 6th, the 10th, the 13th, the 16th (years that are important only because I think they are important, and for no reason other than my subjective ones!). This year, AJ turned 7--not a "special" birthday--so no party. I was going to try to keep it simple. So this is what I did:
Instead of a party, he got to invite a friend to spend the night. He invited five friends (three are brothers, how could we leave one out? and two are his brothers good friends. We're kind of like that--we just share everything!) So I supplied pizza (very cheap pizza), cake, sodas and snacks, decorations, and treats. Does that sound like a party to you? Yeah. Does to me too. However this is really the first year AJ has really wanted to be with friends of his own, his own age. No. That doesn't really make me feel better about it.
The one thing he really wanted for his birthday was the doggie. So after much prayer and deliberation, I decided to get it. (I've been thinking about this for over a year.) So for his "present" I am paying the adoption fee at the shelter, buying all the "necessities" like a new crate, a trip to the vet, extra food, toys, etc. The cost of this present? I'm too embarrassed to tell you, but let's just say I could get a bunch of toys cheaper.
I told AJ that if he got the dog, that was his present. There would probably be nothing else. But the night before he went to Disney with his grandparents, I began feeling a little guilty that he'd have nothing to open and decided to send "a little bag of treats" with him on his trip. So I fille the BIGGEST gift bag I could find with snacks, a few little toys, stickers, a disposable camera, and tied it off with a personalized balloon. OK, yeah. It was a present. But don't tell anyone.
I also realized at Walmart that he needed new pajamas for his trip . . . a new swimsuit (the eight old hand-me-downs aren't good enough . . . and they don't have superheroes on them) . . . and of course, a birthday outfit. So I got those for him.
I won't tell you how much money I've actually spent on this birthday. Let's just say . . . I should have had a party and presents. It would have saved me money.
At least the kid's worth it.
And I'm consoling myself by reminding myself that God understands how much I love my son. "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"
Matt 7:11 (NIV)