I have attempted to describe this, but most people can’t wrap their heads around this. I have never had a birthday party, in fact, I never met another Diplomatic kid who had a big birthday bash. Moving every 3 years makes it a little difficult to plan and organize a party. The first year you move, well, forget about having a party, you are just in survival mode and working through culture shock. By the second year, you have made some friends and feel you could probably have a party, but depending on your posting, you are probably dealing with a pesky thing like politics and safety… Did you read that right. Yes, you did. My parents could never ask other parents to just drop off their kids for a 2 hour party. My parents were always nervous about the other children’s safety. Depending on the country, and the international school and if you were friends with wealthy locals nannies would come with the kids and you would have to think about the maids and nannies being entertained in one corner, the international Mother’s being entertained in another, and the kids entertained in the far corner. By the time you attempted to plan the party, which is a political nightmare in itself, the birthday would be gone, marked with a cake and sometimes a Father who had to be called away, or in my case, a Typhoon that marked my 11th birthday! By the third year you were on a posting, you figured there was no point in attempting to plan a birthday party because you were leaving, and back then, you kind of thought you would never see any of the people again.
Then there was coming back to Head Quarters and your cycle of birthday craziness would begin again, except, you now had birthday parties to go to, unlike at international schools where everyone had the same paralysis, back home, there were all sorts of birthday party etiquette and politics to sift through. At HQ you have cliques to contend with, and as the new kid, you pretty much got marked quickly, parties are not inclusive like they are in International schools. For a kid in my position, I just didn’t bother having a party, it just seemed to complicated and I was always terrified no one would come. All in all, I never felt it was worth celebrating my birthday, which is a strange hangup to have has a parent.
We fast forward, and I am now planning my son’s birthday parties every year. Wanting to celebrate him, and make him feel special. I don’t want him to feel he isn’t worth it, that there will always be a group of friends and family that will lift him up.
How do you celebrate birthday parties?