Celebrating What’s Important

I must have done something right to raise a kid who does not demand expensive gifts for her birthday.

It’s my daughter’s 9th today and when I asked what she’d want to do on her birthday, she asked if she could : 1) be picked up by me from school today (she rides a school bus); 2) have a pedicure at Posh Nails (pedicure done but at the cheapest Php100.00, or US$2.50 (includes tip), home service as the salon was full when we went – she was nevertheless happy!); 3) go to Time Zone this weekend (her usual budget is Php 200 or US$5, and usual is once every quarter) and Marta’s Cakes (to decorate cookies at around Php 150 or US$4 for a cookie-decorating kit.  When asked if we should go out for dinner, she said we should just get  take out food and eat dinner at home  (Php1,000 or US$25 cost to feed 7 persons).

At Marta's during her birthday last year

She’s never really asked me for something big.  Of course, I splurged to give her an Underwater Adventure theme party when she turned one, and a Highschool Musical party when she turned 7, but it was mostly mommy a.k.a. event organizer who wanted to make use of her party organizing skills!

For gifts (birthdays and Christmas), the major ones I recall giving her were a V-tech learning laptop, a bike, an expensive Sennheiser mic with a mic stand , and  a guitar. The rest were books.  I’d rather give books so I could help develop her love for reading.  She doesn’t own any gadgets and just works with a 13″ hand-me-down Mac Powerbook to do her research, book reports and weekend FB and Farmtown.  I just hope that she doesn’t feel envious of her cousins who live with us as they are being showered with expensive gifts and gadgets by their parents who both work in Australia and sometimes would over compensate for their absence with material things.

Growing up, she was disciplined to choose only one best toy to buy when she wanted two.  Or sell (so she can raise money) or donate old toys (we have our regular gift-giving in QC) if she wanted to make space for new things in the room. She’s an only child but I’d like to think she isn’t spoiled and knows the value of money and hard work at her young age.

We remembered her day mostly by saying how we love each other and by thanking God repeatedly for her nine years filled with blessings and good health, and that we hope He would guide her to become the best she can be.  To us, this is the most important part of any celebration, acknowledging the main reason why we are here, giving credit to the source of all the wonderful things we share together.

She’s asleep beside me now at the end of a very important day, happy that when she wakes up, she starts life anew as a 9 year old.

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