My son is turning 7 years old this summer. While this doesn’t seem physically possible, it is true.
Since he was three years old, we have had large birthday parties. I would think about a theme that was currently relevant in his life and would run with it! We would have lots of people and this party would require a master “to do” list that was two-sided and quite detailed. A month prior, we would begin to get into birthday mode, making sure that anything that was required for the date would be delivered on time and we would pick a date well in advance to assure that most invitees could attend.
After the extensive planning and money spent, I would find my son during the party to be overwhelmed and overstimulated. My TBP was ready for the excitement to be over far before the scheduled ending. Typically, he would go to his room and would be both surprised and annoyed that the guests weren’t able to understand that he wanted alone time. There were too many guests, too many gifts, too many changes to his environment…all in all, just too much and too many of everything.
Surprisingly, it took us a few years to finally get it. This year, we asked him what he wanted for his party. I named off the usual attendants and he proceeded to say “no” to each name. As he did this, I felt a sense of panic inside of me. My thoughts started swirling around…How could we have a party if he didn’t want children? He doesn’t want games, activities or music? What will we do? When I FINALLY sat and really listened, it became clear. He wanted our adult friends that he is very close to and he wanted one boy that had the same passion as him…Mine Craft.
Just to be sure…I asked him more than once and on more than one occassion to confirm his birthday party desires. Each time, he shared the same details. A small list of adult guests, one Mine Craft fanatic, and a cake that resembled a Minecraft scene. Okay…while this is foreign to me…I am coming to grips with the idea that this is not going to be MY idea of the perfect party but hopefully it will be HIS idea.
Instead of the long “master list” that I would add to and cross off for weeks, we now have a very short “to do” list. We ordered both boys Mine Craft t-shirts (which we couldn’t have done with the lengthy former guest lists) and we are setting up both computers so that they can mine and craft to their hearts desire! At this point, we don’t even know the food that will be served.
This was a great example of how we have learned (although it took us a while) to really listen. We had to forget our preconceived ideas about planning a memorable children’s birthday party and had to focus on our sweet TBP’s wishes. By listening, I am hoping that we have an engaged birthday boy…one that is involved and happy instead of avoiding all that was planned. The party is scheduled for Sunday. I will let you know how it turns out! 🙂