Today is my youngest son’s birthday. Zane is now seven, and I have no idea where the time went. It flies, apparently.
We let Zane decide how he would like to spend his birthday, and his first choice was a party at the bowling alley. We had just been to a party there for one of his classmates, and apparently it made an impression. He was pretty adamant about it.
This is where I start to feel guilty.
We didn’t want to have a party at the bowling alley. It is expensive, and unfortunately we don’t have the hundreds of dollars that it would have cost to make it happen. So we padded the options with incentives he couldn’t refuse, and he chose the birthday behind door number two.
Granted, it’s an awesome birthday celebration in its own right (dare I say better than bowling), and we have spread it over the entire weekend. First, we will go to dinner at his favorite restaurant, then we will be Disney’s guest for a special screening of Oz The Great and Powerful (his favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz). Tomorrow we will spend the day at a local theme park with his best friend, and Sunday we will attend a Harlem Globetrotters basketball game. Fun, right?
The thing is, it is all work.
Please don’t think I am complaining, they are wonderful opportunities that I am very excited and thankful for, but the only reason we can afford to do all of this special stuff is because they are events that I am covering for one media outlet or another, and as such they don’t cost anything close to a bowling alley birthday. Not close at all. I’ve turned my perks into presents, and I feel like I have tricked him.
Basically, I have arranged my own responsibilities to create a family weekend that is so awesome that he had no choice but to take it, and he did so with great enthusiasm.
All that is left behind is the birthday party he wanted to have.
So the question is, how does accepting my financial limitations and surpassing them with the bells and whistles of my professional good fortune reflect upon my parenting skills? Am I making the most of what I have to provide the best possible scenario for my children, or am I taking the easy way out and being manipulative in the process?
Or am I thinking too much?
I suppose it doesn’t really matter in the big picture of things. The bottom line is that my youngest is now seven, and his birthday is going to be full of family, friends, and fabulous fun.
We can go bowling anytime.
Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).