My daughter's 8th birthday is coming up in less than two weeks and I will be on a plane. For at least part of the day. This is the fifth or so time in the last eight years that the scheduling of an important overseas meeting has interfered with her special day. (In case you're wondering, I did miss the meeting the year I gave birth!) It's a birthday-conference conflict that calls for creative solutions.
When my daughter was younger, it was easier to blur the calendar a bit. Although I didn't, as some friends - and my mother - suggested, try to convince her that her birthday fell on a day I was at home, I did nothing to correct any confusion between the concepts of birth date and party day.
Now, of course, my pre-tween daughter is well aware of her big day and expects lots of hoopla not only at her birthday party (which will take place this year the weekend before her birthday) but on her birthday day. I can't blame her. As my family, friends, kids and especially my husband know, I absolutely love my birthday and treasure the annual event. (Actually, I'm a bit of a birthday-holic. I love all birthdays!)
Most of the time, I've been able to spend at least part of the day with my daughter. One year, I missed the very end of the conference and flew home on her birthday so we could have a festive family dinner. This year my daughter's birthday falls on Sunday, the day before the conference begins. Instead of flying overseas on Saturday night so I have Sunday to rest and prep, I'll delay my trip by a day so I can spend Sunday morning and (most of) the afternoon doing something special with my daughter (and my husband and son, too) before I head off to catch my an early evening flight to Europe. I expect Monday will be a caffeine-fueled day.
Even though I've figured out this year's fix, the whole birthday-conference conflict causes me some consternation. I know it's not rational, but it's there. Of course, it's all about me, not my daughter. She's not concerned that I won't be with her every minute of her birthday. She's focused on next weekend's pre-birthday party with her closest friends, the cupcake celebration at school the following week, and our special family outing on the big day. And she can't wait for the presents I'll bring home for her, either! Happy 8th Birthday, sweetie!