Celebrating My Birthday (in Absentia)

Every year, the girls and I have our little tradition on my birthday.  We go out to a restaurant (we all have to agree), pick out a cake at the supermarket (with buttercream frosting; absolutely no whipped frosting is allowed in our home), and for the girls to pick out presents for themselves at the store.  This has evolved into a very fun tradition that we all look forward to.  With me being deployed though, just like our Christmas cards, it looked like it might not happen this year.  Thankfully, their Mom was very supportive of my request and kept our annual tradition going.

[The] Olive Garden breadsticks sound pretty good right about now
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Elaina’s 7th Birthday Party

Birthday parties in the time of COVID are something else. Minimal guests, social distancing, and supply chain issues with presents and decorations. Mostly first world problems, right? Even though I was a little late with the planning, Elaina still ended up having a pretty good little birthday party.

And they spelled her name right!
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The Calkins Family is Back Together!

So the trip to pick up the girls was a big success and we are all now back under the same roof.  And I then immediately went into a week of leave which allowed us plenty of time to reconnect; it was not really necessary though, because apparently, they really missed their Dad over the summer.

They missed the trampoline too
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My 40th Birthday “Party”

In the wake of the girls’ mother leaving, the last thing I wanted to have was a birthday party with friends.  It just ended up being the girls and I.  We picked out a cake together, I bought them presents, and we just spent the evening together.  Two years later, my birthday routine has become something of a tradition, one born out of a sadder time in our lives, but one that means a lot to all three of us.

They were really disappointed that I did not pick the unicorn cake…
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Elaina’s 6th Birthday Party

From the second that I picked up the girls from their summer with their Mom in Texas, the only thing that Elaina has wanted to talk about has been her birthday party (Gabriella had her birthday party at her Mom’s house in July).  Little did she know, I had already been planning it all summer, and thankfully, she did not change the theme.  So it was just time for me to bear down on the finishing touches to ensure that I stuck the landing, because this was the first of their birthday parties where I was going in as the primary planner.

She obviously rejected my Star Wars-themed party suggestion…
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