My first son, Bodhi, turns three today so I thought I’d share a small tradition we have in our family for birthdays- the Geburtstagskranz, or the birthday ring. The birthday ring is a wooden ring, traditionally with ten to twelve holes (one for each year of childhood) but now you can find them in all kinds of variations. Small wooden ornaments or candles fit into each hole and people use them in different ways- some filling all the holes with candles, some put a new ornament in each year or some fill it all up with ornaments. Part of the fun is figuring out how you want your own birthday ring tradition to be.
For his first two birthdays, I picked out ornaments that had a special meaning to me. My favorite is the lion. Bodhi made quite the dramatic entrance into the world. After a long, crazy labor he was born not breathing, but he fought for his life. It took so much strength, from him, me and our family, and I think the lion is a perfect symbol for that strength.
This year, Bodhi and I both picked out an ornament. We talked about what all of the ornaments meant while we put the ring together. He picked out a windmill because he thought it was cool. For now, I like that he just picked out something he liked, but I’m hoping next year, we can have a bigger discussion together about which ornament he wants and what it means to him. Tonight, we’ll light the three candles, sing happy birthday and make a wish!
We do a birthday cake too but usually with a few friends before his birthday. The cake is fun but the birthday ring is something special. It gives us a moment to reflect on the last year and remember the years before. We get to talk about things that make him unique and significant events that have helped shape him into the amazing kid that he is.
If you want to check out birthday rings and ornaments, I love www.thewoodenwagon.com or www.bellalunatoys.com.