Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Traditions....and why it's ok to change them...

Tomorrow is the first birthday in our family in 2013 - and things they are a'changin! We have had a long-standing tradition of "birthday morning" meaning the birthday boy or girl wakes up to the kitchen table decorated with presents, balloons on the chandelier, and a birthday morning treat of their choosing on the table for breakfast. The thing is, this was never intended to be a tradition. It's just something I did ONCE and after that it was expected. I didn't mind this, in fact, I thought it was pretty cool we had our own little tradition. It was fun - until the oldest kid hit junior high.

Then, the school start time was much earlier, necessitating the younger crowd getting up even earlier so we could all gather 'round the festive birthday table and watch the present opening. And once the kids got even older, yours truly had to stay up later and later (or get up REALLY early) to do the "birthday fairy" thing and put out all the decorations, presents, and, often, stay up late baking something (or get up REALLY early to bake something). Ugh. Birthday tradition or not, it became more work than I wanted it to be.

So, recently I suggested we switch it to "birthday evening." And I was berated for not keeping the tradition alive and kicking. Well, then.

But then it was MY birthday and no birthday fairy came. No one decorated squat and there were no presents on the table in the morning, nor a birthday treat in sight. In the evening I had presents, but I was not happy about all the times I stayed up late or got up early to create this magic for everyone else in my family and not one person bothered to do it for me.

And I realized, a tradition is no fun if it's just work for one person. And since I started it, I can end it. So, now we are having birthday evening. Or afternoon. Or whenever I have time to get it all together. Sometimes traditions just create stress and what's the fun in that?

Birthdays are for celebrating, certainly, and I love a good birthday party and the traditions of presents and cake. I love creating that for my family. But I think as you get older you have to create new traditions or just take them as they come. My friends take me out for lunch on my birthday every year and I love it. But I would also be ok with whatever other way of celebrating I wanted to do, with or without friends.

The thing is, no one's birthday is going to go by unnoticed around here, even if there are not five mismatched balloons tied to the chandelier. There will still be presents, just not first thing in the morning. Birthday morning treat might be a trip by the coffee stand and the fact that you actually get a ride to school and get to skip the bus for one day. There will always be cake - heck this year my son got an ice cream cake tonight, a promised rainbow cake from his big sister tomorrow and cupcakes for his party on Saturday. So, yes, there will always be cake.

It's ok to take a break..........from traditions. Or to change them completely. Change is good.

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