Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Milestone birthdays

My son Brandon is celebrating a milestone. He’s turning 21. It’s hard to believe, but as I look back on the years, I can easily remember many of those milestone birthdays. You know the ones — the first birthday, of course that’s huge, but I think that one is more for the parents than the child because you can celebrate the fact that you’ve made it through sleepless nights, teething, that first fever and endless trips and calls to your pediatrician.

The next big birthday is when they reach the double-digits and turn ten. Brandon’s tenth birthday was probably one of my favorites because it was one of the more memorable parties, more about that later.

And then of course 13, when the hormones rage and the teen years begin. After that, there’s the all-important sixteenth birthday which means endless hours gripping the car door handle while your new driver learns to maneuver entrance ramps. And after that, in just a few years, comes the eighteenth birthday, which is when they become an adult…seriously? I don’t know about you but there are very few 18-year-olds I would consider “adult.”

Not that all of the birthdays in-between are insignificant, but those are the biggies and the ones that require the best parties, which brings me back to Brandon’s tenth birthday party. Parties these days seem to be seriously over the top and require quite a significant outlay of cash. But I think you can still have a fun party the kids will enjoy without taking out a second mortgage.

By the time my son turned 10, we had done it all as far as birthday parties go…Chuck E Cheese, roller skating, bowling, puppet shows and swimming. So on his tenth birthday, I decided to have his party at my house. I know — what a concept! But what was I going to do to amuse and entertain twenty 9-and-10-year olds?

After hours searching online for birthday party ideas, I ran across an ad for a magician. Ah, and just like the rabbit pulled out of the hat, I had my party theme. A magician that made house calls…genius! I would love to give you the name of that awesome gentleman who came to my house with his bag of tricks and entertained those kids for hours, but that was eleven years ago and my memory fails me (but I’m sure you can Google Dallas children’s magicians). But what I really want to share is what a great party it was with all the kids, and mainly boys I might add, who were absolutely spellbound and who actually sat still for the whole magic show. This party was a great success and easy to pull off. This particular magician also made balloon animals after the magic show so he was a two for one. Add cake and ice cream and some sweet goodie bags, with of course a magic trick or two in them, and you have a birthday party hit.

As the Mom of a new 21-year-old, yes I’ll agree that now he really is an adult, I recommend you cut down on the extravagant parties and save your money…college can be very expensive!

Do you have any great birthday party ideas to share? Let all the Moms out there know!

Peggy Norton is a senior communications and public relations specialist for Texas Health Physicians Group.

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