My kids had their one year old birthday years ago. Eden, my eldest, had her first birthday 20 years ago. She was our first and it was a fun party.
Some friends said to us, “It’s silly to have a party for a 1-year-old, because they don’t understand what’s going on and will never remember”.
Well, Eden was our first child, so we ignored them and had the party anyway with the whole family. I could swear Eden knew everyone came to see her. You see, when Eden was 1 year old, she could walk, say some words (luckily, we captured it on video, otherwise no one would have ever believed us, not even she) and respond to people’s requests. For a whole day, we walked like peacocks, watching her going from one family member to another, clapping her hands, dancing and moving her hands and fingers to the rhythm of the songs and acting out the lyrics.
When Tsoof had his first birthday (13 years ago), we were in Thailand and celebrated with some friends. When he was 14 months old, we flew to visit our family and had another party for him. At that stage, he was very aware of everything that happened around him. He already talked and felt like a prince for a day as the family came to celebrate his first birthday. He used the opportunity to show off his skills and abilities. Whenever anyone asked him to do something, he did and when they started clapping him, he joined in and clapped for himself with pride.
When Noff was one year old, we packed our house and were preparing for an 8-week trip around Australia. We had some friends over and, just like Tsoof had done, she used the opportunity to show off her dancing and singing and was very happy with all the attention. We were happy and excited about the trip and her first party was very much a farewell party. Noff was cute and every time we had guests, she thought it was a party, because people loved her and played with her.
Recently, my two sisters had their sons’ first birthdays. People around them said that it was not worth the effort, because the kids would not understand it was their birthday and would never remember it anyway. That brought back all my memories about my kids’ first birthdays.
I am not sure what people mean when they say kids do not “understand”. What is there to understand? It is a fun day when everyone comes to show how happy they are the new baby has come into the world and give them lots of attention. Besides, birthday parties are not just for the kids. They are also for their parents, because they are congratulated for having their kids and they will surely remember.
And what do they mean when they say this kids will not “remember”? Do they mean the food? What games they played? The special suite they were wearing? Then no, they will probably not remember any of these. But I believe they will always remember being loved by so many people, being smiled at, being cheered and being happy. Every person spends every day of their life longing to feel like this – to be loved just the way we are, regardless of our looks, abilities and talents. Being unable to do anything properly and still being surrounded by an ocean of love.
I have to say I do not remember my first birthday but my kids will, not because I did something special, but because they were born at a time when we could capture they special day on video. All they need to do is put on the DVD of themselves going around the room, smiling to everyone and being lifted up high with a bouquet of flowers on their head to recreate the memory.
Look at the kid in the pictures. This is my nephew on his first birthday. It was a joyous day for his parents and for everyone else who came to watch him showing off his tricks and his beautiful smile and he had a ball. I even got to celebrate his birthday from a distance and hear all the stories of him through photos and YouTube clips, thanks to the development of technology!
So what is your opinion? Will he remember or not?