Age Appropriate Milestone Celebrations: Is There Ever a Too Early Moment?
It’s that wonderful time of the year again, graduation season and wedding season. Major milestone moments in our lives directly be it from a child of ours experiencing one of these items or indirectly via family members/ friends. Another registry to peruse, another gift to wrap, dress to buy that you hope you’ll wear again or is appropriate enough dependent upon time and location of ceremony. And if it’s a destination wedding, more money to allocate towards a location that may quickly become your family vacation for that year no matter the want on your end due to the absorbent cost of such location and knowing your luck is sheer to none in convincing the hubby to spend money on additional plane tickets this year based on what this one is costing. I know that for weddings and baby showers you’re basically stuck on celebrating someone’s momentous occasion, no one wants to be that person, but is there a cap on when we actually have to “lean in” on graduation ceremonies. Writer Claire Guillepsie wrote an article contesting the need of graduation celebrations on the toddler scope and why we as a society have been obsessed with celebrating every milestone and if it’s contributing to the age of entitlement that we see in young adults and adolescents. I get it, especially as a licensed child therapist myself. I’m always on high alert if what we are putting into our children are making them more productive members of society or the miscraints that somehow grow up and become entitled assholes. But I have to disagree on the point that maybe toddlers are too early to start in the celebration.
I look at it through two lenses, one not just as mother but a mother of AA children. Statistics show that when AA begin school that are immediately more marginalized then their white counterparts, boys are automatically more frequently grouped as behavioral problems when there may be an acting out episode as opposed to their white counterparts who are described as just having a bad day. AA girls are seen as more “mature” in terms of development than their peers and are sexualized earlier, all attributing to stigmas and and innocence lost in children not being able to actually be children, even through their educators eyes who are suppose to be protecting them. I also look at it through the lens of someone who works with children and adolescents from all walks of life and culture on a daily basis and am privy to their stories and experiences and in a world where life has become so fickle, everyone is so determined to be better than the next and a society hell bent on everything electronic and not enough face to face time (spoken from the mouth of working mama who maintains 2 businesses and always has a tinge of mom guilt for who I want to be everyday for my children). With these catalysts I want to celebrate every moment no matter how trivial it may be and no matter how tired (code word exhausted) I may be that day, and there are definitely those days. I want to wake up some mornings and eat cake for breakfast with party hats and music with my children. I’ve made ½ year birthday cakes for my kids however asinine it sounds because who knows if I’m going to get that next 6 months, and I want to be front and center at those pre k graduate ceremonies because this mama loves a good photo op, even when I know my son and daughter won’t remember the actual day but maybe they’ll remember the party (be it 5 people or 50) as science says that we all usually retain our memories after 3. Life is fleeting, we all should choose how we spend it and revel in those choices and the ability to make such choices because goodness knows the real fete for all parents everyday is keeping them clean and breathing. What are your thoughts on celebrations, over it or all in?