When we arrived home from Disney last week we were bombarded with mail. Inside that neat package which the postman so eagerly handed over were three invitations to birthday parties. Are you serious I thought? How could so many children we know all be born in the same month?
I've noticed a trend since I've graduated from child to adult, and I'm not so sure it's for the best. See, when I was a child and invited to a friends birthday party, we ended up going to the child's house to celebrate. Nowadays it seems the bigger the better.
It began in preschool with my five year old. From Chuckee Cheese's to Bounce Parties. The list goes on and on. No longer are a cake and a few friends acceptable celebrations. Parents must be ready to dish out the cash. Parties generally range from $300-$600. Most do not include cakes. And only some will supply the paper supplies (but absolutely no themes...that's extra).
I had one birthday party at the local roller skating rink when I was 8 years old. I have no idea what my parents paid at the time, but if someone handed them a $300. bill at the end, surely we would have pawned a sibling. I was grateful too. Something that seems to be a forgotten manner.
Don't get me wrong, I know many of us grew up with much less than our children have and we want to give them the best. When and if we can afford to, a birthday somewhere besides our home is a nice jester. But it seems the difference between now and then is the children are running the show. Honestly, how many times have you heard a parent ask their child: "Where do you want your birthday this year honey?"
I remember a time when the parent told the child where their birthday would be. My parents called it the living room. Couldn't get much fancier a place than that. Good Ole Chuckee Cheese was where the rich kids went. And we didn't have these cool bouncy factories. We pulled the mattress off the bottom bunk and jumped off the top. Ta-Da...A homemade bouncy party!
It's only my opinion, but kids have lost their imagination; and parents have lost their balls. (Sorry if that insulted anyone, but the truth is a big pill, and sometimes it's hard to swallow).
My kids have another birthday party this Saturday, and guess what? It's in a living room. I'm looking forward to this one. Maybe they'll let us pull the mattress off the bed?