Birthday parties. Life as we know it.
No matter what stage of life we are in, or what age, somewhere, sometime, we all attend them and host them.
I remember going through the plethora of kid’s parties. Spur was the most common choice. Almost right the way through from Gr 0 to Gr 5, moms (and sometimes dads) sat on those brown leather seats and chatted, whilst kids played in the play area, chasing each other, shrieking and only coming back for the party meal of a hamburger, a drink and an icecream. Sugar rushed and tired we ended the day (and that was just the parents).
My darling kids liked nothing more than a party at home, in the back garden. We had Clamber Club come over and build a lot of obstacle courses in the yard. We had the Pta Zoo bring their travelling zoo of tiny animals and reptiles to give a talk and allow the kids to touch the animals as well as all the types of skins the zoo staff brought along. It was a hit. We did have to ensure that our wailing dogs were kept inside. It would be frowned upon if one of our dogs ate the Pta Zoo tortoise. Then there were the swimming and water slide parties complete with 209 lit of Sunlight Liquid or bath foam on them - the dress up parties - the parties that included going to play soccer in the park - the list is endless. We had parties at which magicians and clowns entertained the kids and we even had a party at which a huge purple Barney character arrived. That one was a little concerning as the person in the costume kept removing the head and flirting with the mothers. Somewhat not appropriate behaviour for Barney. It ended when one outspoken mom told him “to get his shit together and entertain the kids”. Each party required an only made by mom cake and I became an expert at Google and other sources of age appropriate decorated cakes. I would bake the night before and watch the delight when they saw it in the morning.
Besides for Jess’ 21st and my 50th, mom baked cakes are still the request for birthdays. Nic is now 19 and Jess 23. Party packs were a big thing. It was not enough to give the kids ten tons of chips and sweets at the party, one had to ensure that the sugar rush continued long after the kids went home and that they were able to take a box of treats, aptly with their name on, home for future snacking. Luckily they became their parent’s problem to deal with.
As the kids grew older, the parties changed. Jess liked to have a group of girlfriends over and they seemed to spend most of the time giggling and changing their outfits. Not sure how each girl arrived with so many clothes in their bags. It seems it was always pre-arranged. Also at these parties was incessant chatter about boys and other stuff. Her 13th was spent with 5 friends at a restaurant, girls adorned in feather boas and tiaras.
Nic moved into the realm of action cricket and soccer parties and luckily these were also simple. Get a group of friends. Arrive at the venue. Pay for 90 mins of games. Make two teams. But also serve cold drinks and sweets. Talk about nothing but sport. Vaguely notice girls, except for those playing in the teams at the party.
Then they got older. The cakes remained but Eug and I had to move a little into the background. Kids rocked up, pizza was ordered in abundance, FIFA came out and when it got late, everyone fell down somewhere and slept since it was usually 3am by then.
Jess and friends went to a restaurant/cocktail place for her 18th. They asked for all the ID’s. I vouched for her age before leaving. They insisted on seeing it. Naturally Jess had left her ID at home. 20 kms away. I had to drive home, scan it, mail it to them and only then .... one hour later, could she get a cocktail.
Nic spent his with friends, it was a fun night rumour has it. Boys will be boys. Enough said. Hatfield.
When Jess turned 21, I turned 50 the following day. We had a joint party, a night of real fun and joy in the church hall. Our family, my friends and her friends. Lamb on the spit and a jukebox. Casual and a lot of fun.
Nic’s 21st lies ahead in some time still. Will be interesting to see what we go with. On Sat evening the four of us attended the 21st party of twins. A nautical theme. It was such a lekker night.
And hubby? You may wonder why I am so quiet on the subject of hubby. Hubby likes it quiet. So quiet it is almost unnoticed. With us 3. And at a stretch lunch somewhere with only the closest. Small. Just a “hello new number of age, nice to see you”. That is fine, each to his own.
I have a friend who one day observed to another friend of ours - “When Karin has a birthday the whole world has to know about it, she makes sure of that”.
Not sure that he meant it as a positive thing..... but every year ... every birthday ...... every new number ...... every blessing of another year ..... must be celebrated. It is a privilege, not a right. And I won’t apologise for that.
Celebrate it with great joy and thanks. Or quietly. But celebrate it.
So yes, I get excited about birthdays. There are worse things I could do.
C’est la vie