After my son's party got over, I asked her how she wanted to go about this year. She said she was still thinking. On 7th September, she went for an outstation school trip for 4 days and came back only on 10th September. Before going, she settled for a camera for a birthday gift from her dad and got it well before the trip. After she was back and well rested, I asked her again "Now tell me where do you want to celebrate your birthday party? Are you inviting only the girls or the entire class?" I was prepared that she may want a grander party this year, considering turning ten, a double digit age is something more special. "I don't want to hold a birthday party this year, not inviting friends" she replied. I was dumbfounded. Last year, the planning and preparations for the birthday party had lasted for a month before the actual date. We had spent days deciding the theme and games and return gifts. "May be a trip hangover" I thought and kept quiet. Two days later I checked again "So shall we book a place for a party or you want to hold the party at home?" She was quick to reply "At home, mom. But only with family". I was puzzled. "Are you sure?"I asked "No kids around. Just the four of us?". She smiled "Well, can I call my cousins over?". I nodded, still feeling confused.
On 17th morning, just a day before her birthday I sat puzzled. "May be I should arrange a surprise party and call all her class friends over". I discussed with my husband and told him that I am feeling odd that she is not having a proper birthday party. He was cool about it "It's nothing odd". In the evening, she casually remarked "So tomorrow is my birthday. I hope you are planning surprises for me". That's when I felt really nervous. "She is expecting surprises?". This was tricky! Planning a normal birthday party was hard work but more straightforward. I was completely clueless. At that time, I really empathized with guys who have to plan surprises for their girlfriends. While she was busy playing, I quickly checked with her "So what is your favorite color these days". I have learned that kids especially girls change their favorite color quite frequently and its always a good idea to check it out regularly. At one time, she almost worshiped pink color. Few years later, in a clothes shop, when I suggested a pink jacket for her, I was told "Come on Mom, Pink is for babies". That is when she bought black jacket and many items in black color. "Lilac. Mom. That light purple shade" she replied.
All the cousins had a great time playing with each other. We ordered pizza for the kids. She cut the cake and celebrated the day at home with extended family.
In the evening, we took her to a mall so that she could pick up birthday presents for herself. She picked a night-dress and a hairband. My son was also enthusiastic about giving a gift to her and getting a return gift. They discussed amongst each other and decided on the gifts from each other. She selected a small pouch meant for keeping traveling toiletries. It also had a few small empty bottles for keeping cream, shampoo. She has a fascination for creams, shampoos and perfumes these days. He selected a toy camera.
At night, she told me this was the best birthday she has had. I know kids tend to exaggerate their feelings but she did look peaceful and contented. I must say, the fact that she chose to spend the day with her family and cousins was very re-assuring at some level. And I also learned that to her a surprise did not mean a big thing, but her parents giving a thought to her interests and desires. A day when they make efforts to make her feel special. And of course lots and lots of love and attention from her mother. I don't know about her, but she certainly gave me a big surprise this year!