When your child dies, you understand how much kids birthday parties suck. I’m not necessarily just talking about other people’s kids birthdays. Your own kids birthdays are equally crappy. It is as if someone repeatedly stabs you in the heart all day. Constant reminders of what you had, what you are missing, and what will never be. It is no wonder so many parents avoid them like the plague!
Birthdays were always a big deal at our house! It meant waking up in the morning to party decorations. Eating cake and ice cream for breakfast (that was our tradition). Planning a big day out that was full of surprises and things the birthday child adored. The fun lasted until bedtime ensuring we maximized every moment.
I can’t do it anymore!
I do it. Some of it. However, it is just isn’t the same. I force myself to do what I can. After I feel guilty because it didn’t match up to what it was before. The girls may not notice yet, but I do. It is just one of the ways I see how much Cameron’s death has changed me.
What about other kid’s birthday parties? (post continues below photo)
There is an unspoken pressure that exists. It is felt externally as well as internally. You can’t not go kid’s birthday parties anymore, right?! Many times friends and loved ones feel you are avoiding the world. It can’t possibly be healthy. Birthdays are a big deal…and they SUCK! No one understands the torture that happens on the inside.
This weekend we will be attending our first. My stomach is in knots just thinking about it. It is for an (almost) 8-year old boy. Imagine that, right?! It’s a friend’s son. She was incredibly thoughtful when she invited Melia. I really have to give her kudos because she did everything right! She simply mentioned that her son would love it if my daughter could come, and she wanted to extend the invite. She acknowledged that birthdays are hard (especially for boys). There was no pressure applied whatsoever to attend. This is rare!
So today, I found myself in the toy section at Target. The weight of the world rested on my shoulders as I turned the corner into the boys section. I tried to pretend it was no big deal, but it was. The questions came fast and furious. What would I have bought Cameron when he turned 8? Would he like this? Every character he knew from every show he watched attracted my eye. Each game or toy he loved screamed at me from the shelf. The torture had begun.
I know I will be able to smile during the actual party. My daughter will have so much fun. I’m doing this for everyone else. I am really good at walking through the motions during times like this. However, I know I will pay for it later. When life quiets after the party, I expect the emotions to take their toll. The reality will be raw once again.
This is a constant battle with grief. When do I stop putting my own needs first? My answer to that is almost never. You must only make that decision when you fully understand the consequences and are prepared to take them on. It is different for everyone. Yet, I know every bereaved parent out there will agree kids birthday’s suck!