Friday Five: Birthdays

Jan, over at RevGalBlogPals posted this Friday Five about birthdays:

1. What are your feelings about celebrating birthdays, especially your own?

I enjoy being “the birthday girl.” Our celebrations are very low-key, but I enjoy marking the milestone. Gifts don’t matter much to me, they are always a pleasant surprise. One of the things I love about birthdays is almost philosophical, because to me birthdays are like Time itself: everyone has the same amount which makes them a great equalizer. We each get one birthday each year. What will we do with it? What will the next year bring?

2. Do you have any family traditions about birthdays?

Our family birthday traditions evolved as our daughters grew. When they were little we did the shaped-cakes and parties where you invite the whole class, often held in the church basement. I never let them omit a classmate. We played games, sometimes my husband did some magic tricks. I still enjoy the pictures of the cakes. Some of them were monumental, some were collaborative works with the birthday girl. I had to invent a “cow” shape one year, for instance, and that was a fun challenge, and very successful! These were my “Supermom” moments and I don’t have a lot of those. So yes, I will indulge in a fond memory!

As the kids got older the parties changed. My younger daughter started throwing historically-themed parties with a dramatic plot and an improvisational feel. Those were a lot of fun. Guests were invited to play specific roles. We worked together well in advance to get all the guests in costume, and my daughter made great invitations etc. My husband and I would serve the meal in courses in our dining room, often there was a plot twist with a murder, and it would be fun to play the victim or the butler, or whatever was necessary.

3. Is it easy to remember friends’ and family members’ birthdays? If so, how do you do it?

My MacBook has an iCal feature that’s great because it can be linked to my Contact list. If I put someone’s birthdate in the appropriate field, it will show up in a “birthday calendar” on my regular calendar. I can call that information up with one click.

I send birthday cards to nieces and nephews through college. A few years ago I became a “cash aunt.” I put in the amount of dollars equivalent to their age. What I do is prepare a year’s worth of cards ahead of time (in late November) complete with the appropriate cash amount. They’re addressed and stamped and ready to go. Then I put a reminder on my calendar the right number of mailing days ahead of time. No more thinking!

And for the record, I expect, and receive, thank you notes. We are all happy.

4. What was one of your favorite birthdays? (or your unhappiest?)

I threw my husband a surprise party when he turned 30, that was fun. We lived in Minneapolis at the time, I was in seminary. A lot of friends came and he was truly surprised. What seems funny to me now: 30 was old? ?Ha!

5. Post anything else you want to share about birthdays, including favorite foods, songs, and/or pictures.

Fun fact: Our older daughter was born on my Mother’s 58th birthday. So March 26 is our magic date.
Oh, here’s a word to other minister/moms: Do not do as I did and have one child at Christmastime and the other at Eastertime. That was bad planning. Good luck.
Here’s a picture from a year that bridged childhood and teenage birthdays — there’s a shaped-cake and an improvisational dramatic theme. At this party the guests played Victorian ladies who discovered a shocking secret about one of their sorority sisters!
This picture shows my husband delivering a pivotal clue to one of the Victorian lady guests:


3 responses to “Friday Five: Birthdays”

  1. I enjoyed the descriptions of the changing themes of your daughters’ birthday parties. You clarified your love of birthdays to an extent I had not thought of and appreciate.

    1. My daughter is starting a business selling this party idea!

  2. Delightful memories – the birthday parties for your daughter sound like a lot of fun.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *