Birthdays are special in my family, especially for my children. I am someone who doesn’t particularly love, or need all the bells and whistles for my own birthday, but my daughters are true birthday queens. And frankly, they should be! I have always tried to create birthday moments that my two daughters will cherish and remember. The homemade cakes, party hats, special and numerous birthday cards (which are a blend of store-bought and hand-made crafts), birthday songs, …In our home the celebrations can go on for days. When my girls were younger I even used to make cupcakes for their half birthdays – this tradition has faded a bit, but the reminders of the half and three quarter birthdays still pop up from year to year.
My older daughter, Grace, who is also my summer camp participant, happens to have her birthday smack in the middle of the summer – and guess where she gets to spend it…….at CAMP! No parents, no regular home birthday routine, but a whole lot of special summer camp celebrating! Since I don’t get to be with Grace on her actual birthday, we celebrate at home before and after the summer. That is when the homemade cake appears and often “city friends” are involved in some of her birthday fun. And as much as I wish that I could spend Grace’s actual birthday with her, I know that being at camp on her birthday is something that she looks forward to all year long. I can actually remember being a camper myself (many, many years ago) and watching with envy as kids around me celebrated birthdays at camp. They would get birthday cakes, packages from home and special treatment from the staff. It always seemed magical and amazing to celebrate at camp, and I always wished that I would have that chance – maybe that is why I have a daughter who was born during the summer…..
Grace’s camp has many special rituals for summer birthday kids. There is the cake at lunch, the singing of happy birthday, the package and cards that parents get to send to camp, and even a very special phone call home. But, Grace’s favorite camp birthday tradition is being thrown in the lake by the staff. This is something that she excitedly and enthusiastically awaits all year long. The higher the throw the better – the bigger the splash the better, and the fact that she gets thrown in fully clothed is perfection. For her, being at camp on her birthday is a special treat, and what more could a parent want than to have a happy child on her birthday!
So, as Grace’s birthday arrives this year, I will check the camp website to see if there are any pictures of her being thrown in the lake, sing her happy birthday from afar, and feel comforted by the knowledge that Grace is spending her birthday in a magical place that she considers to be her second home!
Wishing a Happy Birthday to all the summer babies celebrating at camp,