If I had access to pictures of birthday's from the days of yore, I'd post them. Instead I'll just have to paint a picture with my words. Imagine cleverly crafted invitations (they usually rhymed), cavernous church halls filled to the brim with people, a huge cake from Porto's (only the world's best bakery), shiny presents stacked higher than the birthday girl herself, Archie the Clown doing magic tricks for all the kids, maybe a puppetier, games and prizes of all variety, and a little girl in a new dress (probably with lots of ruffles).
My parents didn't kid around when it came to birthday parties. To say they "went all out" would be an understatement. Because my brother's birthday is July 7 (he's three years younger), we'd always have joint parties. We were incredibly lucky to have such wonderful galas and there are albums filled with photographic evidence of such events. Not every kid growing up has a clown perform at their party - I did, and I'm pretty lucky for it. As I have gotten older the parties have become smaller, there is less pageantry, and the gifts, although fewer, have become of better quality.
Mom and Dad set the precedence with fabulous parties. I know the driving force behind it was mom (isn't it always?), and although I have no specific memory of those early parties, I realize now that when parents throw parties for their kids, it's mostly for them - the adults. I don't remember the puppetier at my first birthday party, but there are pictures of it and pictures of me sitting in front of an enormous multi-tiered cake. I believe there may even be some Super 8 footage of the festivities as well.
When it finally becomes our turn, Big Red and I, to throw a birthday party for our offspring, I'm sure the mom in me will want to do something wonderful. How could I not? A birthday is a big deal. It's the day we arrived and there is no other day like it, and no other anniversary larger or more significant. Without a birthday, no other dates would exist.
This afternoon's affair will host no clown or puppetier, just my East coast family, some burgers on the grill, beers and Shirley Temples. And whether or not there are thirty-three candles upon which to wish, I will, nonetheless, be making a wish...
but that, I shall keep to myself.
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