As a child, I didn’t have many Birthday parties. No, we weren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses. We–my siblings and I–just didn’t have many Birthday parties. As a pre-teen, I was in the Big Brother & Sister program, and was given an amazing “Big Sister” named Ada. Ada gave me my first Birthday party–she planned all of my Birthday parties, as a child, actually. I had a few slumber parties in her home and felt like the most popular girl in Marin City, for the month of February! I looked forward to February 17th, as soon as the sun greeted me on the 18th of February at her beautiful home! The countdown began, all over again, as soon as the party was over! Yep, just 364 more days to go until Ada would serve my friends and I spaghetti, then sing Happy Birthday to me!
Needless to say, I’ve always LOVED my Birthday! With or without a Birthday party–my “born day” was special to me for soooo many reasons! If I had a plate of spaghetti and a slice of fruit-cake (whipped cream with fresh strawberries, bananas, and pineapples on yellow cake), I was in PARADISE! I couldn’t care less about a party, if I had my favorite Birthday meal! As a mother, who still loves her own Birthday, I’m even more excited this year.
I make it no secret that my daughters have very different childhoods than I did. They, of course, have wonderful Birthday parties–so wonderful, that I’ve had to check myself and make sure that I wasn’t overcompensating for my own humble, upbringing. I suppose, it’s my fault that my oldest daughter’s standards for my Birthday, are similar to the desires she has for her own parties! She believes that Birthdays are made for fun, and “spaghetti & cake” alone don’t qualify as “fun.”
So, she and my husband planned an exciting trip to California for my special day. We flew to California, and there we explored Disneyland, Legoland and ate at the best restaurants that “Yelp” could recommend. As we stood in lines, got on rides, and ate $3 bags of amusement park potatoes chips–yes, $3 each–I realized that this trip was not about me! Look, I’m not complaining…I’m actually realizing that what was once my favorite day of the year, is also a special day to all of my babies. Even though I would genuinely be content with some great food (especially one that includes marinara and pasta), followed by some delicious cake, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for what Birthdays now mean to our family. Every year, we cannot guarantee that Daddy will be here to celebrate any of our Birthdays. He spends more holidays and Birthdays with the Navy, than he does with us. In fact, this year, my Birthday is the only Birthday that we’ll all share together. We have a lot to celebrate right now, as we orepare for him to deploy this year.
As my family sang “Happy Birthday” to me in our hotel room, I forgot about my sore feet from standing in lines or running in the rain through Legoland. Yes, it’s my Birthday, but I’ve learned that every party is OUR PARTY when we’re all together. While they are celebrating me, I’m just thankful that we’re all present to hear the words, “Happy Birthday” and enjoy our party as a family.