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My son is turning 10 at the end of the month.
10 is huge. 10 is the big time. 10 is the age of double-digits. 10 is the point of no return, because never again will my son’s age be written as a single digit.
To mark the occasion, my husband and I have been trying to decide on a special birthday gift for our son. We’re striving to give him something useful, something enjoyable, and something memorable.
Both my husband and I remember the gifts we received when we turned 10. My parents gave me a Walkman. I felt so cool, so grown-up, so independent. I could listen to what I wanted without having to hear my younger sister complain that she didn’t like a particular song. My husband received a Nintendo Entertainment System. His gift allowed him to experience the fun and other-worldliness that his friends already enjoyed in their own homes. No longer would he have to rely on sharing a friend’s console.
Over the years, we’ve given our son gifts that have stood the test of time, gifts that stand out in his memory, gifts that are enjoyed over and over like his dual-sided easel, his White Christmas DVD, and his Casio keyboard.
Our son rarely provides us with a list of particular items he’d like. He’s all about the surprise, the anticipation, and the chocolate cake. The gifts aren’t necessarily the biggest, or most important part of his birthday celebration.
This year is different though. This year, our only child is turning 10. And so we have put an extra level of pressure on ourselves to find just the right gift to mark the occasion. It’s tricky because while we want to acknowledge his age and maturity (by turning 10, he is now more than halfway to adulthood), we also want to maintain his childlike innocence.
We don’t feel the need to rush the growing-up process, to prematurely equip our son with a digital device he doesn’t truly need at this stage of his life. There will come a time he will need a phone. When he will need his own tablet and/or computer. But for our family, that time is not at age 10.
For now, our almost-ten-year-old son is learning to navigate the tricky stage when he is still a little boy, allowing me to kiss him when the bell rings to start his school day, and an almost-teenager, having dinner-table conversations with us about the threat of a border wall between the United States and Mexico.
Maybe my husband and I need to take our cue from our son and stop worrying about finding the “perfect” gift, and instead give him gifts that reflect the boy he is without worrying that the gift is “big” enough or “special” enough.
Our son is entering the age of double-digits. But he’s still our son.
And he still wants a chocolate cake with red frosting.
If any parents have any suggestions or words of wisdom, I’d love to hear them in the comments section. How did you celebrate when your child turned 10?