This Week’s Prompt: How did you celebrate your birthday?
Like in last week’s Mom Before Mom post about favorite home cooked meals, my Mom was central in making birthdays special growing up. She baked, decorated, planned, wrapped, hostessed and cleaned up after.
Most of my memories of my earliest birthdays are from faded square pictures. My friends and I all dressed in frilly pink party dresses, a cardboard throne decorated for the birthday girl, streamers, balloons and presents.
My birthday is in early November, so as I got older, I often had Halloween-themed birthday parties. Decked out in costumes, my friends would arrive and between autumn games, my Mom would lead us through a mini haunted house in our finished basement. We loved the nervous feeling and giggled nervously as she told us a legend, blind-folded, and we had to step over imaginary creatures, touch unknown brains and we somehow ended with our face in a plate of flour, I wonder if she remembers how the story went.
Even for my sleepover parties, my Mom planned games like dressing up relays. One year, I remember my Dad getting angry because some of my friends dressed my little brother up as a ballerina and then tied together the pink tights at his feet. I got in trouble, but it still makes me laugh!
As a Mom, I really don’t love slumber parties, but for my birthdays, just like my kids now, I always wanted to have a pajama party. My friends and I would line up in our family room and do the hustle to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. (Can you guess how old I am?)
When I turned 13, I felt so grown-up. My parents took me, alone, just the three of us, out to a community dinner theater to see Carousel. I was thrilled to be out with all the adults in the theater. That year, my gift was a green parakeet, I was a teenager and responsible enough for my own pet.
Other birthdays, my Mom took me into New York City, I grew up in Newtown, Connecticut and trips into the city dotted my childhood. One year, we went with another Mom/Daughter pair and, our mothers selected a show on the two-fer ticket line that sounded good but no one knew much about it. The four of us went out to lunch then headed to the theater. During the performance, the Moms were laughing so hard that tears streamed from their faces and loud, vocal laugher erupted at the very adult humor and my teenaged friend, the birthday girls, got some giggles, some wide-eyed shocks and didn’t quite enjoy it (or GET it) as much as our mothers.
When I turned 16, my parents threw me a surprise Sweet Sixteen party. I spent the day at my friend’s house baking and dancing to the Violent Fems, the plan and fibs to surprise me all worked. I can picture the very 80’s black and royal blue plaid shirt I was wearing and one of my favorite gifts was a turquoise sweater from Benetton. (Can you guess how old I am?)
I voted on my 18th birthday and spent my 21st birthday in Portugal on an excursion while studying abroad that semester. The memorability of birthday since has decreased. Now I love just being remembered by friends, doing something out of the normal routine and getting cards and homemade gifts from the kids.
Birthdays were different each year, but were always special in our
house, and I try to create that for my kids’ birthdays, too.