March is a big birthday month in our family.
I counted six birthdays in the extended family.
After putting up the crepe paper, balloons and birthday banner,
we started fixing pizzas for the 20 some guests, mostly family.
Rose and Joe are the main pizza chefs.
Joe prepared his specialty: BBQ chicken pizza,
Rose made the Pepperoni, and we all worked on the Jalapeno Popper Pizza,
which we copied from Anna, who had just tried it the week before with great success.
When the food was ready,
Daddy prayed a special blessing on the birthday boy, Ben, who is turning 11 years old.
After dinner-- cake, of course...except our boy wanted banana splits instead,
so we put his candles in his ice cream.
He was quite pleased with it.
Long ago we started a tradition of giving the same gifts to each boy at a certain age.
This has worked very well...and the children look forward
to the day they will be old enough to get ______, as if it has become a right of passage.
It also keeps things fair.
Once our boys are nine,
we leave toys behind and enter the age of tools that will last, hopefully, a lifetime.
When they turn nine, we give them a foot locker.
At ten, they get their first pocket knife.
At eleven, a hatchet.
For twelve they get a hunting knife.
Thirteen, a .22,
and fourteen- a gift especially for their particular interests.
Fifteen- a fishing vest.
When sixteen, they receive a dinner date with parents, with a "becoming a man ceremony".
Seventeen, a tool kit for a car,
And eighteen, a "senior trip" with daddy.
We have a whole different list for girls, but that will be told another time.
Here, you can see,
that this little woodsman is happy as can be to have yet more camo and a fishing net,
gifts from grandparents.
After stuffing ourselves with pizza AND banana splits,
enjoying all the company...which somehow consistently includes a dress up party for the little girls (always amusing), opening presents, visiting some more...
...and the guests have left...sigh...
we settled the children down and read a few more chapters in Little House On Plum Creek
before tucking them in, then seeking our own happy slumbering place.
..one more year added to the many years we have been blessed with our children.
Each one has their own gifts and talents, bents, and love language.
Each one so unique, so precious in their own way,
and yes, challenging in their own way.
Yet each one, certainly a reward (Psalm 127).
We concluded the day feeling overly full and abundantly blessed..
...the perfect ending for a birthday.