I love birthdays! Any excuse for a party is fine by me. But birthdays and other occasions are more than just party moments. For me, they’re opportunities to celebrate life, whether remembering the blessings of the past year, or looking forward to the future. The material ‘trimmings’ of any of these events, as far as I’m concerned, should always reflect the spiritual, the emotional, the abstract – those feelings we can’t put into words.
As a mum, I have the very lovely privilege of being able to influence how my family celebrates occasions. I want my children to grow up with a sense of celebration and fun, knowing how blessed they are and who to thank. I love how different families have their own unique traditions, and we’re starting to create some of our own which will mark out how our family celebrates key moments. So here are our traditions, in the context of Lois’ first birthday.
There is always cake, of course, a pretty standard tradition:
(Red velvet cake, for those of you who are interested in such things. Recipe here.) I like to bake cakes for my kids’ birthdays. Last year, when Joel’s second birthday was approaching and I was expecting Lois imminently, I made his cake in advance and froze it. A friend reminded me that supermarkets sold cakes – the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind! I think I mainly like to do it myself because I’m not yet very good at cakes, and I think that if I practise while my kids are too young to remember then by the time they care, I’ll be damn good.
There are always parties. Lois’ one was an afternoon tea last weekend – the sun shone, good friends came, and the scones were excellent, even if I do say so myself.
Then, on the day, there is measuring. It’s always fun to watch how much our kids have grown in the last year. (Note: Al and I don’t partake in this tradition anymore. Our height charts from year to year would look pretty dull.)
Birthdays wouldn’t be birthdays at Casa Rycroft without cake for breakfast:
And on this particular birthday, shortly after this picture was taken, we headed off to start a brand-new toddler group in the city centre. This doesn’t happen every birthday. That would be insane.
A homemade card is an important tradition. My Dad started this: each year, growing up, I would get a special hand-crafted card from him and Mum, something specially constructed to reflect who I was that year, often containing a funny poem, a clever word-play, or some amusing drawings. Sadly, some of these have been lost through the years, but I’ve kept the remainder, and they’re a great record of the different interests I had as I was growing up. I’m now doing the same for my own kids, and this was Lois’ card, reflecting her determination to climb/escape from/crawl into anything she chooses:
Those are our traditions – what are yours?