Birthdays on the field can be a lonely time for an MK. She may remember her family and the fun celebrations they used to have back home. She may think about her favorite restaurant where she used to spend her birthdays or all the things she might receive if they were on American soil where they have all. the. things. Memories of birthdays past with special friends emerge with a longing to spend a day like those she’s spent before.
My daughter was young when we moved to the field, and the first birthday she had here was her fourth. Even at such a small age, she remembered her past birthday parties with her family. She wondered out loud if this birthday would be any fun. We included our friends here and had a small celebration a few days before, but when her actual birthday rolled around we didn’t have much planned.
Grandparents to the rescue!
They shipped a box a month in advance just for this special girl on her special day. They called it “Birthday in a Box” and we had a fun little celebratory party at 6 am in Nepal while they celebrated with us at 9 pm in America.
If you have a far away grandchild, college-aged child, or special missionary friend (*wink, wink*), consider sending a “birthday in a box” for their special day!
Make your own Birthday in a Box:
- Put together a package including things like: birthday cake (little Debbie cupcakes worked great for this!), candles, birthday hats, decorations, confetti, other party supplies… and, of course, *wrapped* PRESENTS!
- Keep some supplies for your side of the party. Cupcakes, party hats, noisemakers, etc. so you can pretend you’re celebrating this together!
- Get it in the mail in time to arrive for the recipient’s birthday.
- Arrange a time with the recipient (or recipient’s parents) to hold a FaceTime or Skype call.
- Get the party set up. If the recipient is a child, have the parents open the box to retrieve the decorations. String balloons, streamers, and banners from the child’s bedroom to the party place if you are celebrating in the morning or from the front door when the child returns from school or an outing.
- Place the call with the recipient and their family.
- Sing happy birthday. Watch them dig into their cake and presents while you enjoy your guilt-free goodies.
- Have a blast and don’t forget to take pictures and screenshots!
ANOTHER BIRTHDAY IDEA: If you visit a far away family or friend, consider leaving birthday presents wrapped up for the special day coming, and do steps 5-7 as listed above. My in-laws did this for our daughter the day after this first celebration. She felt so special (read: SPOILED) having THREE different birthday celebrations and forgot all about the loneliness altogether. To me, that was the best gift of all!
This should hold you over until you meet again. And then…the REAL PARTY begins!