Where did you go, May? Maybe it seemed so evanescent because the rainy season arrived- steam and all. We live in the land of eternal Summer and the word summer here isn’t so much a season as it is a holiday and an end to the school term. I have been “winding down” for a solid four weeks. The wind-down started immediately after Nora Ruth’s sixth birthday party which took place on May 18th, ten days after her birthday. It was a fantastic event, shared with two friends, that couldn’t have been more perfect or memorable for her. But more about that later.
First I want to whine about how quickly May and the previous 72 months have come and gone. Seriously. Five was different because I could still claim that she was a mature 5-year old but six is the real deal. We are now having discussions about bikinis, pierced ears, sleep-overs, and growing her hair out long. She’s reading (no more sending her to pick up my phone when it beeps with a text), telling time (thank goodness we have a little ways to go before she masters this one), and oh-Lord-no…learning how to count money.
There are some advantages to having this crazy-big kid. She can fold and put away all of her own laundry. She reads bedtime stories to her baby brother. She gets me when I say nice is more important than fair.
On May 8, 2013 we celebrated Nora Ruth’s 6th birthday first thing in the morning with breakfast donuts. The night before she helped me make Quinoa Chocolate Chip muffins and at the very last minute I decided to ice them before bringing them to school. Thank God I did because I heard more than one classmate muttering, “I only liked the icing…”. Geez you little sugar-fiends, its only 10 am! After school we walked across the street to the West Bay pier for our newest favorite sport…pier-jumping. After a quick rinse, we went out for a family dinner at the Sunshine Grille-cheeseburgers and presents.
Ten days later, we invited all of Nora Ruth’s classmates, and a few extra friends, over to the neighborhood for a Bike Rally. I wish I could claim responsibility for this theme but I have to give all of the credit to my friend, Jody. We stocked supplies for bike decorating and together with the three girls, Nora Ruth, Jody’s daughter Aleena, and another friend, Sofia, we built an obstacle course out of cardboard boxes. The guests decorated their bikes with spoke beads, handlebar tassels, and streamers, then went for a bike parade down our street before arriving back at our driveway to find a colorful obstacle course set up. They rode the course into the ground- literally! Dinner, Cake, and before-bedtime swimming with our best friends and last guests completed the night. It was quite the production, one that Nora Ruth will never forget, and the perfect point in my “school year” to begin winding down.
The girls collected donations for the Cayman Islands Humane Society and had so much fun dropping off the items that their guests donated. If there is one thing that I’m sure we’ve done right these six years it has been this practical and ethical lesson in giving and I encourage all parents to try it. Practically speaking, do you or your kids really want or need that surge of stuff every year? And ethically speaking, we spend hours teaching our kids to share in small ways but this is a way to demonstrate how sharing can be a big, truly meaningful event.
For Nora Ruth’s first birthday, we raised over $7,000.00 for the Deaf Blind Children’s Fund. We had small, family parties for both her second and third birthdays, but when she wanted a birthday party for her fourth birthday it was time to explain our giving philosophy. At first she was more focused on the fact that she would be receiving gifts from family members but after a visit to our local Humane Society to meet all of the cats and dogs who needed her help she was sold. One of the reasons we chose the Humane Society that year was because it was somewhere she could visit to see the need. The fact that our friends could donate “items” was also important because Nora Ruth and all of her friends could relate to that type of giving better than monetary giving. We recently went through this process again with Alliene in November just before her third birthday and although she is a very different child, her heart and her reaction were just the same. Next year, I’d like to try something different with Nora Ruth and let her choose a charity herself. I know she’ll pick something or someone special and give with all of her heart.
Finally, I’ll leave you with Nora Ruth’s answers to a birthday survey and some pictures of all the fun we had in May. We’re already well on our way to seven. Wish me luck.
- What is your favorite color? Pink
- What is your favorite toy? Kyra the Fidget (Alliene’s gift to NR this year!)
- What is your favorite fruit? Watermelon and cantaloup
- What is your favorite movie or show? Barbie Princess Charm School
- What’s your favorite game? Duck, Duck, Goose
- What’s your favorite snack? Cheese and Apples
- What’s your favorite animal? Pugs and kittens
- What’s your favorite song? I Enjoy Being a Girl
- What’s your favorite book? Skippy Jon Jones
10. What’s your favorite holiday? Christmas
11. What’s your favorite toy to sleep with? Blankie, Hippo, Dolly
12. What do you want to eat for your birthday dinner? Hotdogs
13. What do you want to be when you grow up? A Hairdresser
14. If I were invisible I would…travel to Grand Cayman & Mississippi without a ticket.
15. I’m proud because…I’m spectacular.
16. If I were president I would…tell everyone what to do.
17. I am afraid to…touch a jellyfish.
18. I am good at…reading.
19. To be a good friend means to…help people when they fall, to be helpful, to be nice, to be caring.
20. My favorite time of day is…when I go to sleep at bedtime.
21. Describe your best day ever. When it was my birthday and we had a bike rally party.
22. Climbing trees is…fun.
23. I wish there was a law that said….I could eat as much candy as I want.
24. What makes you feel sad? When somebody isn’t caring to me and takes a book right out of my hand.
25. What makes you feel happy? When somebody hands me a book.
26. Pretend that you can fly whenever you wanted. Where would you go? To Mississippi to see my family.
27. If I could choose a different name, I would choose…Layla.
28. Where do you want to go on vacation? Disney World
29. What is your favorite thing to do with Mom or Dad? Skate