JT started preschool at our school the year he was 3. Yesterday, he turned 14. That’s a lot of time at one school and some of his classmates have been his friends for nearly all of his life. Among the traditions at our school is the option to bring in a treat to share with your classmates on your birthday. Over the years, I’ve baked dozens of cookies, cupcakes, and brownies as birthday treats. Typically, I made enough to give a treat to all of his classmates and to share with the teachers. We’re a small school with small classes and 3 dozen cookies usually did the trick for the whole grade when he was in the Lower School.
When he got to the 5th grade and Middle School, the number of treats he needed to bring increased. The treats are shared at morning meeting (a daily event for the whole of the Middle School) and if you choose to celebrate, you must bring enough to share with your whole grade. That year, I baked 4 dozen cookies. The class got larger each year and these days JT has sixty-one 8th grade Class of 2018 classmates.
That is a lot of cupcakes.
Because I am in the Middle School this year, I have seen the happiness that accompanies the sharing of birthday treats. The birthday celebrant hands out to everyone and a few of his or her friends stand up and announce that there is a birthday in the house. Everyone says happy birthday and the kids take a great deal of pleasure in these distinctly old-fashioned celebrations. It’s the kind of tradition that builds community and it’s fun to be a part of it.
Last year, I grumbled a bit about the number of treats we needed to bring, though I complied with the request. This year, with my window into the world of Middle School birthday celebrations, I was happy to help out. Though it’s not easy to bake 6 dozen homemade cupcakes, that’s what the boy wanted to share and so I obliged. As we loaded them into the car yesterday morning, I paused to think about the many years we have brought treats to school. This year’s collection, the 11th we have brought, will also be the last. Birthday treats are not a tradition in the Upper School.