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birthday parties

We attended our first birthday party today. Our first birthday party of Calvin's childhood years, the kind that, at this age, means both parent and child attendance. Twenty-four children and the adults that went with them, and Calvin was one of only two boys. The kids made cat ear headbands, then ran wild in the basement before consuming fruit, veggies, hotdogs, and cake as a prelude to present opening that took half the time it could have, and twice the time it should have.

Calvin said he had fun, and I'm pretty sure he enjoyed the cat ear making, but it was clear to me after the first thirty minutes why we have yet to throw a party of this kind in our own home. In particular, something about the scads of presents that go largely unnoticed makes my stomach turn. Calvin told me in the car, and then Jon later, that his feelings had been hurt when the birthday girl had taken no notice of the gift he gave her. It opened the floor for a heart felt discussion about showing gratitude, and about doing our best for others but being our own best fans and not worrying about others' assessments of us. Still, it always breaks my heart when he is sad.

After we talked more about the party—Calvin liked the cake and loved the ears—we asked him what kind of party he thought he'd like to have for himself this year, a party with family, like we've had in the past, or a party with friends? "Definitely a friends party," he told us, and when asked what friends he would like to invite he replied "Oh, gram and grandpa, and Oma and Opa, of course, and Aunt Wendy and Uncle Jack. Just like our Easter party. That was a good party." 

As Calvin meets more kids in our community and makes more friends closer to his own age I know that answer will change. Maybe that will even happen this year. I'm actually looking forward to throwing a child's birthday party some day, a reasonable number of children playing games and creating take-home crafts and eating cake and ice cream, but for now I'll just enjoy the sheer adorable-ness of that answer and all that it means.

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