- Posted March 1, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
Birthdays Gone Wild
Recently, my ten-year-old daughter was invited to a birthday party. The invites were selectively passed out at school. They appeared professionally crafted and sealed in themed-matching envelopes. Large, pink glittery words made up the first and smallest of the three page combination, followed by a second, yet larger page hosting a new color of glitter-laden plans for the “party night,” concluding with a final page containing driving directions. The invitation read “You’re Invited to a Birthday Sleepover!” and came with a list of preferred gifts from the birthday girl’s favorite stores.
Give me a break. What happened to the birthdays of yesterday when, for a couple of hours, friends and family could gather, play a few games -- that’s right actual games like pin the tail on the donkey, dropping clothespins into a glass milk bottle, musical chairs -- then sing happy birthday, enjoy some cake and ice cream, watch the birthday child open a few cards and in some cases actual gifts, then head home?
Could this trend of birthday megalomania be symptomatic of something else? Are parents trying too hard? Overcompensating? Feeling guilty? Or are they just plain lavish? I wish I had the answers, but as far as I’m concerned birthdays are becoming expected extravaganzas.
Kids’ birthday plans also often become political, creating two levels of estrangement. Parents whose children are left out of the “birthday party circle” often feel left out, bruised, not part of the in crowd.
Then there’s the practice of handing invitations at school for all the kids to see. Give me a break. If you’re going to spend the big bucks on custom cards for your prince or princess, can’t you fork out the extra dough to send them in the mail? It’s as if there’s a subconscious need for everyone (including and especially the excluded kids) to see those pricey cards you made for the “day.”
Birthdays are fun, they’re good, they’re worth celebrating. But when they become events, is it really for the kid, or the parent ?