My baby girl turns 6 this week. The school year is coming to a close, I have to get my place in order for her birthday party, my workload has increased and I am still struggling to get all of my workouts in. I’m beginning to feel the pressure of the impending birthday activities. This year I had to tell my little one that a party at Chuck E Cheese or Bounce U was just not in the budget. We’ve talked about budgets a lot this year.
This was a difficult conversation for me because she had been looking forward to a party with her classmates all year. What amazed me was her capacity to understand the situation and be open to finding joy in an alternate solution. We decided that instead of a big party, we would celebrate by having special mommy and me time (thank you Tanisha for the suggestion). Looks like we’ll be going out for a manicure/pedicure or painting pottery – two things that have also not been in the budget.
We’ve had our share of financial ups and downs over the last few years, more downs than ups. My daughter is remarkable. As much as she asks for stuff like any other kid, she usually doesn’t want to burden me by having tantrums when I say we can’t afford something. I also make a point to let her know that if money weren’t an issue, I wouldn’t buy her everything she wanted. We talk about how money doesn’t buy happiness and that if she had all the toys in the world she wouldn’t appreciate them. Some days are better than others.
We agreed that instead of a big party, she could bring cupcakes into her school programs (to cover both programs we’re talking 60 cupcakes). Over the weekend she saw pink cupcakes that were decorated with handbags, high-heeled shoes and make up. This morning she asked if she could bring the “fashionista cupcakes” to school. I told her that they were too expensive because we needed a lot. As is typical with my little one, she asked if she could use her own money to buy them. This is always when my heart aches a little and my resolve weakens.
What do you say to that? It’s not like she has a lot of money, but she’s willing to cash in her piggy bank so she can have her cupcakes for her birthday. I asked her if she’d rather have the cupcakes or a present from me because I couldn’t do both. Not surprisingly her answer was that she wanted a present. I used to feel badly about making her choose, but I have come to realize that it’s the only way I can determine how important something is to her.
I will get her one set of fashionista cupcakes for one of her classes, but the other class is getting the run of the mill mini cupcakes. As I strive to find balance this week, generate revenue and plan a party she will love, I will remind myself to stay present in each moment. My little girl will never be 5 again. That’s it. Poof. It’s gone. What’s left is the twinkle in her eye and the sparkle in her smile…if I am open, watching and waiting for the magical moment.