Sarah Lysne: The joy of birthday parties

Published 6:11 pm Friday, February 4, 2022

A member of my family recently had a birthday, and even though we all say we dread birthdays, they really are a wonderful thing. In fact, having a birthday every year is a gift. This party for my relative was fun. We all sat around and talked and laughed. Of course, we had cake. It was a simple party, but simple parties are the best. Unlike the parties my children had when they were growing up. One of my children invited 16 other children to our house for a party. I couldn’t believe how many kids came, but they all showed up. My child was only 4 at the time, so our house looked like a pre-school.

My mother-in-law and my mom helped save the day as we served cake and ice cream to all of these little people. My other kids had parties throughout the years that included parties at the bowling alley and at the movie theater, and it was all very stressful. But the most stressful thing is when your child is invited to a party, and you spend a Friday night at Target shopping for the perfect gift. It can be a real headache because everything you suggest your child vetoes. Either their friend already has that, or they don’t think it is special enough. I was kind of glad when my kids outgrew the birthday party stage and they just met at each other’s houses for pizza or something. Going to birthday parties and having their own birthday parties was joyful for my children, but not so much for me.

I do recall a story that I heard from one of my friends about a very unusual birthday party that she had for her 10-year-old daughter. When her daughter had opened all of her gifts, there was one little girl who had not brought a gift. Instead, she went up to the birthday girl and gave her a big hug. She said, “I am giving you the gift of my friendship.”

I thought that was the most wonderful birthday gift that girl could have ever received because we all know that true friends are hard to find and hard to keep. It takes time and commitment to build friendships and it takes energy to keep them alive. If that girl truly stayed a friend to the birthday girl for years, it must have been a treasure for that birthday girl. I hope that you all enjoy your birthdays and never dread them, because they really are joyful occasions to be celebrated in a fun way.