We have birthday parties to attend this weekend. And they’re not our birthday parties, nor our friends’ birthdays. This weekend we have a series of birthday parties for little kids. I was reflecting this morning on when we were those parents, subjecting our friends and acquaintances to our child’s birthday party. Two weeks before our oldest’s first birthday, we’d sent out the invitations, we have the decorations and theme all coordinated, we had matching plates, plastic silverware, cups, napkins, streamers, balloons, pinwheels, and even flowers, planted in pots that we’d painted to match the party’s theme. It was ridiculous and time consuming. The night before the party, we had guests and family at our house from out of town. My wife was up until 3 a.m., working feverishly on our daughter’s first birthday cake. While I didn’t stay up quite as late, I was charged with making sure that camera batteries were charged and ready to record every riveting second of the festivities.
I think we put on a good first birthday party for our daughter. Our guests feigned enthusiasm. They ate pizza and cake. Our daughter ate pizza and cake. We sang the Happy Birthday song and told everyone about how quickly a year goes by when you have a child, like we were the only man and woman team on earth to experience and endure raising a child through its first year.
And for our second child’s first birthday, which occured this past April, the four of us sat at our kitchen table, and clapped as we watched her eat spaghetti noodles and a single piece of cake that we bought for her that afternoon at the grocery store.
Our second child’s first birthday festivities lasted eight minutes. Maybe. And we’re yet to watch the three hours of video footage from our oldest daughter’s first birthday party.