My great-niece called last night to thank me for her birthday gift. It was so good to hear her sweet voice and know that the roll call of February birthdays has just begun. Of course it is only a few weeks until my own birthday. This isn’t one of the “big” birthdays for me but for some reason I’ve been thinking a lot about birthdays of the past.
I have pictures of my first birthday, but of course no memories. I guess the first birthday that I actually recall is my fourth, because my “present” was my baby brother, David. He was born the day after my birthday. I remember putting my arms through the slats of his bed and trying to lift him. My mom appeared in the doorway with a dish towel in her hand and told me to put him down. That was followed in just a few months with “Will you hold your brother for a minute?”
Most of my early birthdays were spent at my grandmother’s house. She made elaborate cakes for us! One year she made a Barbie cake for me. The doll was inserted into a Bundt cake and then decorated with a pretty floral dress. She made a pirate ship for David.
Big birthday parties were never part of our celebrations. I can only recall one and it was a disaster. I think I was eleven and we lived less than a block from school. Of course Mom tried to combine our birthdays to save time and money. Boys and girls, separated in age by four years, kids dropping by on their walk home from school…not good. The next birthdays were spent quietly with family.
I recall a few Christmas presents of the past, but very few birthday presents. I suppose I received the usual -clothes and books and jewelry. Of course my best present ever was John Glenn’s successful orbit on my birthday in 1962! My fourteenth birthday was a sad one because my cat died. I don’t recall many birthdays after that. I guess I was so busy with other things that one date on the calendar wasn’t that important.
The birthdays I recall most vividly are those of my children. I didn’t always throw a big party or make the most elaborate cake in the world, but we usually had a good time and made sure they got at least one present they really wanted. I’ve seen a few of those birthdays with the clowns and ponies and tents and crowds. I wonder if a five year old or even a ten year old will remember all that in fifty years. Perhaps.
I’ve decided that I’m going to save all the hoopla for my 80th birthday. Seems like a good year to have a big blast! Gives me plenty of time to decide between clowns or ponies.