I love birthdays! Birthday cards. Birthday wishes. Kisses and hugs. Birthday presents. And most of all, Birthday Parties!
My mother made a special cake and a special new dress for me from the time I celebrated my first year on this planet until I was 13. She also saw to it, no matter where we were on God’s green Earth, that I had a party. None of these things could have been very easy. She would have used all her ration stamps for the sugar to sweeten and to prettily ice that first cake. It was still the war years, and any cause for celebration was welcomed and enjoyed, even while pennies were pinched. My second and third birthdays were orchestrated by mom alone as my daddy was overseas and missed those first three shindigs.
Momma made a fancy green, ruffled, organdy sundress for number four and a sweet white cotton dress with a wide scalloped collar to be worn on my seventh…at the Circus Party.
My mom invented the theme party; she was way, way ahead of the giant blow up Jump Houses that take over entire back yards, (and promise bloody noses and cracked noggins), and live rented clowns (scary!), or rock bands (too loud!). No party planners for Mom.
She put together amazing parties, like #7, transforming my aunt’s lawn ( it was a surprise!) into a child-sized Big Top midway. A Go Fish game in a galvanized wash tub, Pin the Nose on the Clown tacked to the old milk house, balloons on sticks with a rainbow of crepe paper streamers attached; Woolworth’s Five and Dime paper plates in red, white and blue (the first I ever remember seeing!) and a cake with a carousel of prancing animals tied to a center pole with satin ribbons—this time made by Kermit’s Bakery in Tupelo, Mississippi. My friends and I arrived at the same time so everyone could share in the transformation of my aunt’s familiar yard.
The squeals of delight grew suddenly silent as a gaggle of little girls in pastel party dresses turned in unison toward the willow tree next to the shed in the side yard.
Standing quietly munching on dandelions and Johnson grass was a brown and white pony with a saddle on his pretty little back! No Kennedy or Kardashian ever threw a bigger bash than my momma. What a Happy Birthday.
The pony was borrowed. Just for the day, and everyone got more than one turn. I wasn’t too sad to see him loaded in the nice trailer and driven to a friend’s farm because…drum roll, please…just before the tired little Shetland left, my Dad rolled a “just-the-right-size” blue and white Western Auto bicycle out from behind my Aunt Baba’s garage. Now that was a birthday no seven year old is likely to forget. I never will.
I am just sorry that this week when it was time to celebrate a very BIG birthday for my daughter, she was packing to go on a business trip and we would not be able to honor her until the following week. Even then, she instructed that there be no big to-do. Pooh on no big to- to! Seems the era of the big to-do is over. I personally like a Big-To-Do! Once just a few years ago when my daughter asked what I wanted for my birthday, I said “A Cowboy Party, please.” And like the Grown-Up Circus Party I asked for only three years ago, I got it! It was wonderful and I thank Leslie for the time and trouble it took to honor my birthday wishes.
Our granddaughter’s Sweet 16 is coming up in March and she, too, has nixed a giant celebration. What’s wrong with the girls in my family? Seems we are all just too busy or don’ t want to make a fuss. That pretty much breaks this party girl’s heart!
I reminded both Erin and her mom of the fabulous parties my daughter had worked so hard to give both my granddaughter and grandson each year. Didn’t she remember the JoJo the Clown party? She didn’t even remember JoJo. Well, what about the Fairy Party where every little girl invited had her own specially-designed and handcrafted wings? She remembered the photos.
And there was Carter’s famous Dinosaur Party where guests searched for eggs made from plaster molds. His mom, my “no big to-do” daughter, had turned the entire clubhouse into a cave and an archeological dig was the highlight.
Legs akimbo, arms flailing, they had a delightful time, as did I, watching youth enjoying their youth. Seems the most fun at any birthday party is running, screaming, chasing one another, giggling and shouting for the duration. And I loved those little faces smeared with colored frosting, their tiny fingers sticky from dripping ice cream cones, and who doesn’t love a KoolAid smile outlining a snaggle-toothed “kisser”?
I certainly hope Erin will change her mind and let us, her family, throw her a really big To-Do! There is just too much gloom, too much bad news in this world not to celebrate every beautiful Life Occasion. My friend Sheridan has invited me to a baby shower next week. I don’t really know the mom-to-be, her lovely daughter-in-law, and I sure don’t know the baby… not yet, but I believe I will just go and enjoy this Almost “Birth” Day party!
Reminder: If you enjoy To-Dos, don’t miss the Senoia Area Historical Society’s Art Show “Oh, Artist, Where Art Thou?” opening this Friday evening at 7 p.m. A dozen artists will be presented in a juried selection hung or placed throughout the Historic Museum at #6 Couch Street from Friday, February 23 until March 16.