This past week was M’s birthday. When friends or family members ask me what she wants for her birthday, my answer is usually, “Time”.
This year, M asked us to play at her favorite playground. She asked us to go swimming at the local indoor pool. She asked to share a pizza with her grandparents and to make enchiladas and ice cream cake with a few of her friends from school. And that…was it! No toys. No gadgets. No themed, decorated party with an agenda and entertainment. Just time with friends and family.
When M was a baby, my husband and I made an intentional, and often socially challenging, decision. We decided to celebrate holidays by spending time together instead of purchasing gifts. This has led to more than a few awkward conversations come birthday and Christmas time, but this year my mom did something that almost brought me to tears; something that showed me that those conversations are important and valuable.
First, she changed her question. Instead of asking M what she wanted for her birthday, this year my mom asked her:
“If someone wanted to make you something for your birthday, what would you like them to make?”
Grandma spoke HER language!!! M sometimes makes gifts for others on their birthdays, and now Grandma was asking to make something for her!!! M responded immediately, “All I really want is treats.”
The grandparents all came to share pizza with us today. When she came, my mom delivered this beautiful basket full of M’s favorite homemade treats! M was so excited, she counted every last one.
The treats may only last a few days. The basket will probably be repurposed for pretend play and remind her of her birthday, but I guarantee the memory of Grandma sharing a pizza with her and making treats for her will stay with M for a very long time. – Crystal, Playful Solutions, LLC