I think this is probably the norm for many families (can it be that we are actually doing something that other families do?! This seems strange...) but we also add our own twist. When it comes to giving a gift to our birthday child, we have chosen simply to spend little or no money. We make this choice for a variety of reasons I suppose (for a look at our debt-reduction plan click here), but mostly from a couple of beliefs that we hold as parents: 1) kids don't need a whole lot of Fisher-Price-type stuff to be happy; and 2) as their parents we have a responsibility to help them look beyond today and to prepare for tomorrow.
Despite our pleasure at being able to "give" her part of her college education on her first birthday, we also want to give her something to open on her big day. Enter one hand-me-down doll cradle that I refinished, and that her grandmother made bedding for: the perfect place for her first baby dolls to sleep. This modest gift will give her something (meaningful and full of love) to open, maintain our priorities as parents and family, and prepare her for her future.
So while our children's birthdays may not be lavish, I think they'll understand. Someday, when our little Eleanor is walking across a stage in a cape and gown, ready to go out into the world on her own, I think she'll forgive us the Barbie she never got, or the clown that didn't come to her party. Instead, I hope that she'll remember all the little things that we did while she was young to help build her dreams, even before we knew what they were.
|Happy 1st birthday to Miss Eleanor!|