When my oldest child was born two days before my husband’s 27th birthday, I think he was delighted: never again would he have to consider celebrating his birthday. A quiet, Enneagram 5 through and through, my husband Adam would much rather fade into the background than be the center of attention.
Our musical theater star kid has allowed him to do just that!
Then there’s the fact that their birthdays are four and two days before Halloween. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t realize how much of an ordeal Halloween would become as I had kids (and more and more kids).
Traditions have piled on top of traditions during these few pre-Halloween weeks. We go to a pumpkin carving party, participate in Trunk or Treat at our church, sometimes squeeze in another festive party or special event, and do trick-or-treating on the campus where we live.
Did I mention that our fourth child was born on October 17, bringing us up to three birthdays in the family in the second half of October?
So take that big list from before and then cram a couple of birthday celebrations in there, too!
In October 2019, my oldest child’s birthday fell on a Sunday. I have pictures of the kids in four places that day wearing three different outfits: at church; at my parents’ house for a quick presents-and-apple-pie party; in our Harry Potter clothes for the Magic of Literacy event; and in costume for campus trick-or-treating. By the end of the night, I wanted to pass out.
Cramming in all the magic and fun can leave Mama a total mess. Honestly, I’m not the most organized, neat, or “together” person in REGULAR times. (Do we still have those?) Adding all of this on top seems to make my brain shrivel up and die. Can I remember a simple eye doctor appointment, even if it’s written in two calendars? Will I make sure all the work for my part-time job is complete? Your guess is as good as mine…
It’s also really delightful to see the sweet, happy faces of kids who love these celebrations. As I’m writing this, seven 8th-grade girls are watching The Nightmare Before Christmas in my living room for a simple but fun birthday party for my teen.
The family party we had last week for the newly minted six-year-old was chili and hot dogs and gifts at my parents’ house. Nothing special, but full of hugs and grins and happy squeals from my one-year-old niece.
I won’t pass up the pumpkin carving party, where the competition is lively but friendly, and our friends, who are AMAZING bakers, celebrate the holiday in full force. Scooping out pumpkin guts is often the most relaxed I feel all fall. We even had an outside, socially distanced party in 2020…where my Schuyler Sisters pumpkin won first prize, thankyouverymuch.
I think if the last three years have taught us anything, it’s that slowing down can be really, really good for our families. I try very hard not to pile activities on each other for our family of six, even though just one thing per child really gets to be a lot when you have four kids. But sometimes, like for these couple weeks, it’s just inevitable. There’s A LOT going on.