My husband and I are musicians. And we’re parents. When we are onstage, we do our best to really be ON stage. But all our “backstage” experiences with our son (our little frog) deeply affect who we are as people, thus musicians. Recent insights:
It has been a big week for our family. Our friends suffered a terrible loss; and our emotions have been occupied in grieving for and trying to offer support for them. They have many big weeks ahead.
In addition to our own sadness, it has been a powerful journey as parents to introduce a nearly 3-year old to death. I am no stranger to loss; and I believe in being honest and direct about big and little stuff with my son. But I do envy my friend whose 6-year old began learning about the cycle of life when her Kindergarten hamster died. Score…
Needless to say, we weren’t in the mood for a big birthday bash for our son. But life goes on; and our swiftly-growing toddler needed something uplifting. We all did.
So, I used an idea that Christine Koh and Asha Dornfest included in their book Minimalist Parenting (my thanks to the Boston Mama who came up with this one): we met a pile of family friends at 11am at our favorite shady playground. We brought fruit salad and mini cupcakes. Our friend Emily brought bottled water. Brian brought paper plates. And we ordered pizzas.
The kids roared around (with toddlers carefully watching 6-year old mentors slide down fire poles!). The littlest one rocked some major tummy time on a picnic blanket. We had a few sad moments. There was epic mouths-of-babes hilarity. We sang happy birthday. And we all went home around 1pm.
It was a good day to be together. It was fun and easy for everyone. It was a lovely birthday tribute for our son… and to his dear little friend who seemed to be all around us that day.
Favorite moments of the day (according to our toddler):
- “the slide, when everyone got on it.”
- “the bird that came to visit the backhoe, with a very cheerful song.” (???)
- “and also the cupcakes.”
It was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining parents got to catch up while running after their little ones and seeing the little ones celebrate life and their special friend turing three. It was a reminder that when you give children room to explore the world together and celebrate in their own spirit without a rigid plan or traditions that space opens up for us all (both parents and children) to experience the simplest and sweetest moments of joy. Happy birthday to your son, sweet Nigel.
Thank you for sharing the moment (and your thoughts). Kind of wish I were able to give space like this more often! Sometimes I lead too much, and other times am so distracted…