I have no scientific evidence to support this claim, but I donít think itís unusual for siblings to be born within a couple of weeks of one another ó plus the number of years between them, of course. My momís and auntís birthdays are three days apart, my husband and his brother pretty much the same. My girls are exactly two weeks apart and given that their birthdays fall at the end of November and early December, weíre always a little extra busy this time of year.
Actually, a ďlittle extra busyĒ is an understatement of extraordinary measure.
Now that both girls are in school there are several fundraisers, Christmas festivals and parties, and family get-togethers to plan and attend. Squeezing in a couple of birthday parties can make for some interesting times at our house.
In the past couple of years weíve gotten a handle on all of this. This year the girls turn 7 and 5 and have requested a joint birthday party. I donít mind saying I shed a few tears of relief when I heard that. It might make for a couple of unruly hours, but it more than makes up for double the effort of hosting two parties ó and the many guests we would have to invite to both. I mean really, no one wants that.
The other piece to maintaining my sanity is taking it outdoors for as long as possible. A scavenger hunt in the backyard and bonfire with hot apple cider keeps the noise level down and makes for happy ó if not soggy ó campers. We host the party after lunch so everyone comes with a belly full of food and high spirits. The cake is the only thing I do inside, once everyone has sufficiently run around.
For many years we have supported Plan Canada by sponsoring a child. Over the holidays we will often request or give gifts like livestock, clean drinking water or school books to families or villages in developing countries. Last year, the girls took the initiative to ask their friends for money toward similar items and declined gifts unless someone wanted to make something by hand. It was a wondrous experience to see how excited their little faces were when they raised enough money to buy two goats, several baby chicks and a mango tree.
The icing on the cake was seeing the girlsí faces when they received thank you cards in the mail. I didnít burst their bubble by telling them that the children pictured on the front of each card werenít actually the kids who received the gift and wrote the note. Theyíll figure that out soon enough, I suspect. In the meantime, I can truly say that the delight and joy they experienced surpassed any birthday present they would have otherwise received. They have tucked their thank you cards away in a special place and often pull them out to look at.
Given the choice, I might have elected summer birthdays for the ease of outdoor festivities, but I donít think I would change the way in which my childrenís birthdays fall so closely together. I am starting to really appreciate the magic it brings as the years go on.
Kirsten Andrews is offering ďA Simple Christmas,Ē a free Simplicity Parenting workshop on Dec. 1 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Cedar Valley Waldorf School. To register for this visit www.SeaToSkySimplicityParenting.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Like Sea to Sky Simplicity Parenting on Facebook for updates and inspiration.