Thursday, March 1, 2012

Not Quite Altruism or Charity – Not that it matters…

We’ve been celebrating Bruce’s 7th birthday for a weeks now.  For some reason he doesn’t end up with a “birthday.”  It’s more of a “birth-fortnight” really.  His birthday is Valentine’s day, so that steals his thunder.  We celebrate it at school another day and have his party on yet another day.  By the time February came to an end I feel Bruce had been more than adequately feted and honored.
For reasons most parents understand, I refused to have another piece of $15 plastic acquired at a birthday party make its way into our lives.  Friends give him generous gifts, but let’s be honest, most are rarely if ever played with.  This year I said ENOUGH!  I actually did something about it. 
In Texas Bruce had a couple of parties where friends brought diapers or canned food for charity.  When we moved to the GTSA I mentioned this to some moms.  They looked at me like I had horns growing from my head.  No wanting to make waves, Bruce had a traditional birthday party. 
Months before his birthday I began preparing Bruce for a presentless party.  Mind you, there would be no presents at the party but grandparents were free to go crazy…  Bruce was less than sanguine about this scheme at first.  Although I acted as if he had a choice, he really didn’t in this matter.  One night in his most sincere 7 year old manner, he prayed and asked God strength to NOT get presents at his party.  Sure I kept talking to him about the people that we will feed with the canned foods we’ll donate, but truly my motive was cut off clutter at the source. 
The "Uncle Eddie" cake as it was called.  My brother is in
the Army and was deployed to Thailand.  Bruce thought that
was way cool!

The food we collected for The Caring Place
He opened presents on his birthday and in the days after as they arrived from relatives.  The party day finally arrived knowing that his “big” gift would be presented after his party.  I wondering/hoping that the attendee would, in fact, bring canned food and not presents.  I’ll be damned if it didn’t work.  I LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER!!!!  We had about 10 boys and a few girls in the party room of Bounce Around.  It was pure, mayhem, pandemonium, bedlam even!  For an hour and a half they jumped, ran, screamed and climbed.  I managed to get them to take two tiny breaks for pizza and cake.  The kids were probably weak and trembling from all the calories they burned running like lunatics, so a cake break wasn’t too much to ask.  At the end of the day, no one even missed the presents.  Not even Bruce.  He did love the basketball goal that awaited him at home however.
Hooligan!  All of 'em - hooligans!
Although my motives were not done out of a need to help the hungry or to sacrifice something for others, I think me Bruce and the hungry people of the area are all better for the experience. 

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