Last weekend we celebrated B’s 8th birthday. 8! I know that every single year I say that I can’t believe that he is really that age, but 8 does feel so big, doesn’t it? Grandma came all the way from Florida, like she does every year, doing so many things to make his birthday feel special, and make him feel extra loved.
His birthday party this year was closer to home, and at a favorite lake. Last year’s party was at a gymnastics place in town. It was fun and we had a good time (and it was a closer drive for quite a few of our friends), but this year’s celebration felt much more us. Being in nature suits us. We got to share one of our favorite places with family and friends, and the weather was just beautiful.
We rented a space for the party, but spent much of our time playing at the lake. It was so warm and sunny, I almost thought it was summer for a moment there. Being barefoot, climbing trees, and splashing in the water? I can tell you that spending the day outside, and with friends, was absolutely B’s ideal way to celebrate his special day. (Plus having his pup there, and a part of it all, made him pretty darn happy too.)
Our friends brought a kayak and paddle board, and we took turns going out. Jeff tried out a paddle board for the first time, amazingly managed to stay upright the whole time, and was all smiles when he returned. I went out on the kayak and enjoyed being out on the water so much. Jeff and I both agreed that we want more time on the lake, it was such a great day.
The next day, on his actual birthday, B went horseback riding for the first time. (Something he had asked to do, and had been wanting to try for awhile.) We started out with a corral ride, which was a great beginning step for getting comfortable on a horse. He got an old, gentle horse he was quite fond of, that Grandma helped lead around. I wasn’t sure what B would think of being on a horse, but he really enjoyed himself.
Next up was the Sea Lion Caves (America’s largest sea cave), a place Grandma had promised to take him. We found out when we got there that the sea lions weren’t in the cave this time of year, but it was still neat to see the caves and look around at everything. (And we got a rain check, so we can use our passes to go back again when the sea lions are there.) Once again we got absolutely gorgeous weather at the coast that day. The whole weekend was that way. Add to that a sleepover with Grandma every night she stayed with us, and I’d say it made for a wonderful birthday weekend.
P.S. On a sidenote: some of you may have noticed that in some posts lately I’ve started referring to my boy as B, rather than using his full name like I used to. I’ve been writing and sharing here on the blog for a long time now, and before I became a mother. Over the years I have become more aware of the need to respect my family’s privacy in this space. It’s not necessarily that I won’t ever be using my son’s full name (or that I don’t realize it can easily be found by searching through previous posts), but that I intend to be using it less. I want him to have the experience of exchanging names when meeting someone he does not know, rather than him meeting an adult for the first time who already knows his name.
I think for many parents who are blogging or sharing publicly online in another format, that as our children get older we become more mindful of how what we share affects them- hoping that when they read our words someday they will feel comfortable with what we’ve shared. As a new mom, I shared so many pictures of my baby (some of you have been reading for that long), and then continued as he grew. I wanted to document every little thing, to remember it all by. I know so many moms can relate- that our children are the center of our worlds, the most important thing in our universe. The last few years, though, I’ve felt a natural shift to be sharing more of my crafting projects and other aspects of our life, and sharing a bit less of my son’s world… allowing that magical childhood time to remain sacred, and sometimes un-touched by the world of screens.