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It’s My Birthday and I’ll Pay if I Want To

by Laura Bowles | 1 year ago

Birthdays can be a very polarizing event, depending on who you ask.  For the littles, it could represent the removal of training wheels or finally being able to sit at the “big kids” table for Thanksgiving. For the teenager, it could represent finally being able to get a Driver’s License or applying to vote.  For adults, emotions can range from “excitement” to “just another ordinary day.” While everyone in the world has a birthday, the way in which we choose to celebrate, or not our “born day” has definitely changed. I never really realized just how different the concept of birthdays were until I became a Mom over five years ago. I’ll tell you, it’s been an eye-opener, to say the least.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane for a second.  Growing up, some of my most favorite and memorable birthday celebrations only required friends, pizza or sandwiches, and a park. I had a number of these types of parties because let’s be for real, it was cost efficient (for the parents) and downright fun (for the kids)! There were also years when my parents had a little more money to spend on my big day.  Anyone remember Showbiz (nowadays it’s Chuck E Cheese), Discovery Zone, or the All You Can Eat Pizza Hut Buffet?  In those days, you were considered hella “cool” if you had your party at one of those places.

The nature of birthday parties has definitely changed from when I was a little girl.  Nowadays, planning a kid’s birthday party can take hiring a planner, caterer, security deposit on a venue, securing entertainment, etc.  Doesn’t this sort of resemble someone who is planning a wedding? Some parents spare no expense when it comes to providing their kid with the ultimate “celebration fest” and you know what, if that’s what they want to do, by all means, go for it! But I can’t help but wonder how much of this party is for the kid vs. the parent?

Having attended a number of kid parties over the past five years, we’ve pretty much have experienced it all, so when it came time to figure out what we were going to do for our daughters on their birthday, we were kind of at an impasse.  Our daughters were turning five and one, which to me were milestone birthdays and within 5 days of each other.  Do we go casual with a small family only celebration, (i.e. trip to Disneyland – which the oldest would have loved, and the youngest wouldn’t even have a clue where she was), or do we go all out with a big joint birthday bash for them both where the oldest could invite her friends along with an elaborate theme and entertainment? For us as a family, we are all about creating memories that will last for a long time.  Having a big birthday party would have been great, but would that be something our oldest daughter would remember for years to come?  Plus, if it hasn’t been implied yet, throwing a big elaborate and creative birthday party in LA can cost a pretty penny (think upwards of $1K – $5K+).  So for that price, we decided to forego that idea and instead take a family trip to a kid-friendly place we have never been before. So we decided to go to Disney’s Aulani Resort in Honolulu, Hawaii.  We were so excited to be able to share this experience with our children.  For our oldest, she didn’t know that we were even going on a trip until around 4 AM that morning when we had to wake her up to head to the airport.  For our youngest, well she just went with the flow. For her, as long as her needs were met, she could probably care less that we were headed to one of the most beautiful places in the country.

Aulani was AMAZING!  It was 4 days and 3 nights of ocean views from our balcony, Hawaiian vibes, lazy river rafting, luaus, storytelling by the beach, shaved ice, and one can not forget the Disney character sightings…I mean it is a Disney Resort and all.  The best thing about the trip was that while Aulani is Disney owned, the resort was the perfect mix of Disney (for the kids) and adult fun.  Although we were there to celebrate our daughters birthdays, as parents if literally felt like a vacation for us.  Did I mention they have a place called Aunty’s Beach House where you can drop your child off and the staff has organized events and activities throughout the day for them to participate in? This is such an in-demand program that you will see parents waiting outside of the office at 6:45 AM (opens at 7:00) in order to sign their kids up as space is limited.  They also will provide snacks and meals so essentially you could go all day without seeing your child, all the while they are having the time of their lives.  This definitely came in handy for us for our oldest.  Although she only stayed for about 4 hours on one day because we wanted to do more family type of events.  I do wish our youngest was slightly older so she could have remembered this amazing trips, but with the hundreds of photos that were taken, I’m sure as she gets older she will love seeing how much fun she had.

For us, celebrating our girls birthday with a family trip to Hawaii was a wonderful experience.  To this day, our oldest still talks about Hawaii and wanting to go back to Aulani (haha, yeah maybe when she can pay her own way). While this past birthday was completely on the opposite end of what my birthdays were like growing up, the key here is that as a parent, however you choose to celebrate your child’s birthday is totally up to you.  

How do you celebrate your kids’ Birthdays?  Leave me a comment below!