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Friday, June 27, 2014

Around the Sun and a DIY Birthday Ring

My goodness, it has been a long time since I last posted.  I have been preoccupied trying not lose myself amid the stress of living in an over-crowded, underfunded home for months on end, but I feel myself coming back to my true self.  One of the catalysts for me to find my way back was my eldest son's recent birthday. Now he has traveled nine times around the sun. 

We are full on in what the Waldorf community calls the 9-year change. I watch it happening as my son pulls away from us looking for independence, questioning our authority, and wanting to know why things are the way they are.  While at times it is frustrating to be challenged by my child, it is also a relief.  For many years he has been so compliant and it is good to see that he is developing a sense of self beyond what we direct. (The Sunrise School has a wonderful post about the 9-year change.)

We threw a huge birthday party (39 kids and adults!) but the special time for me was the evening before the party when it was just family singing happy birthday as he blew out the candles on his birthday ring.

Do you know about  the birthday ring? It is a simple wood circle with holes drilled to fit ornaments that reflect the child's interests or adventures over the past year as well as a few candles to blow out. Since we tend to do Waldorf on a budget, we made ours out of wood train tracks, homemade ornaments, and beeswax candle we rolled ourselves.

To make your own birthday ring, you need eight 3.5 inch curve track, such as these by Brio. (If you do not have them on hand, you can often find them for a great price at garage sales or on Ebay.) In each track, use an electric drill to make a 3/4 inch wide hole 1/2 inch deep. For the ornaments, I bought unfinished wood pieces from our local craft store and painted them using watercolors. I purchased beewax sheets from A Toy Garden some time ago to make large candles, so we made small candles from the scraps. I purchased brass candle holders from a local Waldorf school and used bits of wax to hold the ornaments in place, although it can easily be done without the candle holders.

Now every year around the sun, my boys know it is a special moment as we gather around the birthday ring where everyone stops to show that we are glad not for cake (although we do that too), not for gifts, not even for a fun party, but simply glad that this child is a Gift from God to this family and we celebrate who he is.

I linked up at Frontier Dreams. It is such a lovely blog. Head over for more inspiring craft ideas.

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