Too busy for birthdays

This past Saturday, Em went to her first birthday party in about 2 years. It’s not that we don’t get invited, or that I don’t want to let her go to parties, but it just seems that every one of them landed on a day we already had immovable plans. But this time around, not only did she get to go to one, we stayed for about 5 hours! She and I both had a great time playing with the kids and grownups in the jumper and watching the new 7-year-old open his presents.

Em turns 5 this year. For her birthday, I’m taking her to Disneyland. It’s nothing new; we both have Annual Passes and I’ve taken her to Disneyland for her birthday every year since we moved back to California. But this year, Disney is offering free entry into one of their parks on your birthday, or if (like us) you already have paid admission for that day, you can get a gift card or a pack of FastPasses. Em is only too short for 2 of the FastPass rides, so we’ll get that pack and fly through lines all day! But spending the day at Disneyland with me means not really celebrating it with anyone else. My folks already have camping reservations, my sister and her fiance don’t have Annual Passes anymore, and almost everyone we know who does have a pass is blocked from both parks that day. I had wanted to take her to dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory with the family and some close friends, but it looks like that will have to happen 4 days after. And there’s no time for a party; her schedule is packed! Two days before her birthday she has rehearsal for the play she’s in. One day before, my folks will be gone by the time I get home from work. The day after her birthday she has her kids group at church in the afternoon/evening. Two and three days after her birthday she has tech rehearsal for her play from 4 until 9 PM! Poor thing! The 4th day we catch a bit of a break, but she has swimming until 6.

As an adult, I don’t mind spreading my birthday out a bit. But most new 5-year-olds want to get all their presents (and attention) on the day of their birthday, not 4 days later! I’ve thought of not going to Disneyland on her birthday, but she really wants to go! I know we have Passes, but she doesn’t want to go after her birthday and wear a birthday button, because it wouldn’t be the truth (her words, not mine); it wouldn’t really be her birthday. And the next opportunity we have for going to Disneyland is two weeks after her birthday. So, I’m just stuck wondering if I should feel bad that my little (big) girl doesn’t get to have a party on her birthday with a bunch of people and presents, or if I should get over it because it seems like she has.

Maybe she’s more grown-up than I’d like to admit.

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