Saturday, April 16, 2011
Saturday's Friday Five
One of the facts of life is that most weeks, because of my work schedule, even if I have time to read the Friday Five, I don't have time to respond to it until the weekend. Here's my response to yesterday's prompt over at RevGalBlogPals.
April is a month of family birthdays for me: Today is my mother-in-law's 80th birthday and on Sunday my third child's 26th birthday, so I am thinking about birthdays. Easter would have been my mother's 93rd birthday, but she died when she was only 72 years old.
I love to celebrate birthdays, but I know others don't like to as much. My second child doesn't care about birthdays that much.
How about you? What do you think of birthdays?
1. What are your feelings about celebrating birthdays, especially your own?
I've always loved birthdays, especially my own, which will be here in just over a week! Unfortunately, birthdays were never a big deal in my husband's family, and he's never really gotten into them. He does get me a present and a card, and in recent years he's managed to bring a cake home from the grocery store, but that's after over 30 years of training! When my kids were at home, they tried to make a big deal of my birthday. And my mom always made our birthdays special, even from 1000 miles away. Since she's been gone, my birthday has had a touch of the bittersweet. I guess nowadays, I look forward to my birthday, knowing that in order for it to be a special day, it's up to me to make it so! I've decided that this year I am going to make myself a cake, since I really am not fond of our grocery store's cakes. Oh, and I don't mind getting old.
2. Do you have any family traditions about birthdays?
Growing up, our birthday was one the day we were queen (or king) of the world. We got to choose the kind of cake we wanted, the meals we wanted, and always got to go first when we were playing games. We also got out of our chores for the day. There were 5 of us kids, so my mom decided early on to stagger big parties. One year we just had a "family" party, while the next year we could have a "friends" party. That way she only had 2 or 3 big parties. Our "friends" party consisted of 5-6 friends coming over to the house for ice cream and cake and games. When we got older, we sometimes had a slumber party!
The family party consisted of our immediate party, my aunt and uncle, and our cousins who were just a little older than me. And we got presents from everybody!
I miss the simple "friends" parties though that's basically how I handled my own childrens' parties. We never did EVENT parties, The biggest events we did for our oldest child who had the dreaded summer birthday was to sometimes opt to take his friends to the state park for a swim party.
3. Is it easy to remember friends' and family members' birthdays? If so, how do you do it?
Yes and no. I have no trouble remembering my siblings' birthdays, my aunt and cousins, or my immediate family's birthdays. I also remember my good friends' special days without trouble. It's remembering all my nieces and nephews that I have trouble with. Nothing seems to work for them. I write the dates on my calendar, I buy cards ahead of time, etc. I will start off with remembering a couple of them, and then realize I missed somebody. Or I remember that his birthday is in 6 weeks, and then remember the date 2 weeks past it. I am known as the forgetful aunt.4. What was one of your favorite birthdays? (or your unhappiest?)
Some specific birthdays stand out. The first birthday which stands out is my 6th. I had had a party planned but my grandmother died just a couple of days before my party. I remember feeling very disappointed, and I remember how sad my mom was. I know I was sad that Nanny had died, but more oddly I remember feeling angry that I wasn't allowed to go the funeral home or the funeral. I finally decided that I wasn't allowed to go because the skeletons that must have lined the walls of the funeral home would have been too scary for me! Another birthday that stands out is my 16th. I had wanted a piano and piano lessons for a very long time, but pianos were just too expensive. My best friend gave me a surprise party and her gift to me was a sterling silver piano charm for my charm bracelet (which were all the rage back when I was 16.) When I got home from the party, there in the middle of the living room was a spinet piano, and a gift certificate for 6 months of piano lessons. That was probably the best gift I've ever received!
5. Post anything else you want to share about birthdays, including favorite foods, songs, and/or pictures.
The meal I most often chose for the birthday meal was steak, mashed potatoes, and peas. I always wanted chocolate cake with white frosting and mint chocolate chip ice cream. We always played Pin the Tail on the Donkey at my childhood parties, and my mom always had other good ideas for party games. We used to play what she called "Guggenheims" when we got a bit older. She'd give us all a sheet of paper with a table on it. The columns all had a letter heading it, and the rows all had topics. She'd set a timer and the goal was to fill in as much of the table as we could with an appropriate item that fit the category. I think there's a commercial version of the game called Scattergories nowadays. We also used to play a memory game. She'd fill a tray with a collection of items, and we'd have a minute to look at it, and then she'd cover it up and we'd have to list as many of the items as we remembered. Other games included Musical Chairs and Drop the Clothespin the Bottle!
In the picture above, I'm in the 2nd row, 2nd in from the right, between the tall girl (my cousin) and the crouching girl (sister #1). Sister #2 is the youngest girl in the picture. It's my birthday. I love the way we dressed up for parties back then. I'm guessing this was probably my 8th birthday.