Monday, October 23, 2006
Random musings on birthday parties
I just had a weird little childhood memory. I was thinking about Grace’s birthday and what we might do for her (she wants Cosmic Adventure for the 3rd year in a row with everyone in the world invited, literally). I then started thinking about my own birthday parties and the effort my parents made to make them special. Three really stand out in my mind, and I can’t remember how old I was for them.
1) My birthday is December 21st, so my birthdays were usually winter themed. One party that I remember so clearly involved a sleigh ride late afternoon. I get so warm and fuzzy thinking about that day: I remember being bundled up, my favourite peeps around me, big fat snowflakes falling and hot chocolate warming my hands. What I also remember not so fondly is one little girl who always like to be the centre attention who whined and complained so much about the cold that the ride was cut short and we all schlepped home. (Whenever I see or hear about that girl, this is all I can think about).
2) Another party I remember involved making gingerbread houses. My Mom, (better referred to as The Saint in this story) hand made a dozen or so individual molds for gingerbread houses so me and my friends could build our own little candy shacks. I remember everyone was thrilled and the project occupied the entire party time. Best thing was, my Mom didn’t have to deal with the nuclear-sugar-effects-on-young-girls syndrome as she encouraged everyone to bring home and show off their houses to their parents. What a great idea, and sadly, I can honestly say, I don’t think I could or would go through this effort for my own girls. Why bake when you can buy, I say.
3) The next party I remember took place when I was a bit older, old enough to watch a PG-13 movie (these rules were strictly enforced in my house - my brother and sister will laugh when they read this). Our family was one of the first to own a VCR (Betamax, thank you very much) and my folks tracked down Raiders of the Last Ark for our viewing pleasure. Well, Harrison Ford (dreamy back then) and a decapitation were the bees knees for the pre-pubescent audience in our family room that winter afternoon, and I’ll never forget the cool factor I was feeling that day.*
I have other odd little memories, like birthday parties in the caboose at McDonald’s, playing Atari and Donkey Kong and having séances and playing ouiji board in friends’ basements.
*Addendum: the cool factor was quickly stripped from me when my parents picked me up early from a friends’ birthday party. My folks had found out that the party girl had rented Porky’s for us to watch, and this was not PG-13 material. I was allowed to stay for gift opening and cake eating and then dragged home. It was stripped from me once again when at another birthday party, the rented movie was Purple Rain. I was allowed to stay this time, but with strict orders from my parents that Jen’s mom fast forward through the naughty bits. Jen’s mom, who was the “cool mom” even sold me out to the party girls so she wouldn’t look bad. Ouch.