I guess once you start having kids, you begin to realize that all the decisions you make don't just affect you anymore. Getting married isn't so much of an issue since presumably there are two like-minded adults involved with all the decisions. But throw in a couple of kids, and watch them grow, and all the sudden, you've got another opinion (or 2 or 3) running around the house. Where to go for dinner? A little voice pipes up from the backseat: McDonalds! Hmmmm, didn't exactly have that in mind for tonight, kiddo. Or you're on your way home from wherever, and another little guy requests we take the "highway". After all, thank you Rascal Flatts, life is a highway, and that song will forever be stuck in my head. (Yes, we own the Cars video.)
And yet these, and the many, many like them seem like trite decisions. We promise McDonald's for lunch the next day if they'll just come to Mommy and Daddy's choice of restaurant for dinner. And we just take the highway - after all, it's only a LITTLE out of the way, and they enjoy it so much. But what about the bigger decisions?
It's Jonathan's birthday week - he'll be 6 (heaven help me) in two days. I pondered over whether to have a party for him. But then the invitations started to arrive. All from his kindergarten friends, first one at the local ice cream parlor, then one at a restaurant, then one at the skating rink. A careful look at his class snack calendar confirmed what I already suspected: 5 birthdays in the month of March, with 4 of them coming within 5 days of each other, Jonathan's being one of those. Now, I'm sure that parents don't want to spend an entire month of Saturdays running their kids to parties. I don't mind taking Jonathan to a few (he missed the ice cream one, but we went to the restaurant one so far), but you've got to draw the line somewhere. So for this year, I opted to not have a party for him, after all, we celebrate at home, and often the grandparents come up.
But oh my. Jonathan comes to me and says: "Mommy, my party will be from noon until 7". Sigh. What to say, what to say? So I said something like, Ummmmmm, well, we're having you a nice party with just us and maybe your grandparents this year. Commence tears. I guess it is a bit much for an almost 6 year old to understand why he wasn't having a party and all his little friends were. Well, almost all of his friends. As a parent, I feel like I'm derpiving my child of something he feels like he should have, but on the other hand, maybe it's teaching him a good lesson; a lesson that says he's not going to have what everybody else has all the time in life. Best get used to it now, right? But tell that to a teary-eyed kindergartner.
So maybe we'll have him a party next year. Maybe. I'd like to have a better reason to give him other than - gee, how many parties can we stand in one month? Or the silent reason - hmmmm, if we invite all 24 of his classmates, does that mean 24 more toys/presents/clutter will enter this house? They have so much stuff already! Guess we'll just take this one year at a time.
Then there's Matthew. His birthday is in June, and we have a pool. How easy it would be to throw him a party.... And then Nicholas, his birthday 5 days before Christmas. Sigh. I guess THEY were all right when they said parenting was never easy....