friday five: birthdays!

Bubbles 2nd birthday. Shes pointing to her shoes that match the princesses in the card.

This fun one is from Jan 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 LOVE celebrating birthdays, especially my own, but anyone’s really, and now with kids, that’s pretty special too. I just love, love, love birthdays. I like Occasions and Special Days and my birthday has been the one day that is All About ME! What’s not to enjoy. And I’m sure much of my love for birthdays stems from my mom, when I was younger and even still, making the day special and All About ME!

2. Do you have any family traditions about birthdays?
In my family growing up, we didn’t have too many traditions. We’d do things differently different times. My brother’s birthday is New Year’s Eve, so that was kind of a tough thing for traditions. “Woo-hoo, the church New Year’s Eve party!” But there was always some celebration at some point. My mom would make a favorite meal and we’d have a lemon bundt cake on my brother’s day and an angel food cake on mine. Mostly it was whatever the birthday person wanted to do. With the rare exception, we haven’t been secretive or sneaky about planning birthdays. It’s more of an anticipatory, “What would you like to do this year?”
I’m enjoying being the maker-of-birthdays now, but we haven’t yet figured out much in the way of traditions. We’ve kept things pretty quiet and pretty much family oriented (no blow-out first birthdays here), but we’ll see what they want as they get older.

3. Is it easy to remember friends’ and family members’ birthdays? If so, how do you do it?
I am pretty good at remembering birthdays for my nearest and dearest, and pretty lousy at remembering for anyone else. That ubiquitous social networking site has made remembering birthdays kind of fun. It reminds me of school when the teacher would list the birthdays on the chalkboard and everyone would say Happy Birthday. I do keep trying to come up with clever things to post on walls and haven’t yet been very happy with anything beyond a simple, “Have a wonderful birthday.” Except in high school and college, I haven’t had very many friends at exactly my age, but with FB, I suddenly have all these friends from high school again. It’s been kind of fun this year watching as each of us hits a particular milestone birthday [cough–forty–cough], seeing what they say about it, how they are marking it, who makes a big deal about it, etc. I think the best one is the friend who is starting a Pacific Coast Trail thru-hike in a few days on his big birthday. I’m planning a weekend trip to the coast with Computerguy for mine.

4. What was one of your favorite birthdays? (or your unhappiest?)
So many favorites, it’s hard to pick just one. One of my most memorable was my 21st birthday. My parents threw a surprise party for me, inviting all the family, my college friends, and my church friends. It was a couple days before my actual birthday, Mother’s Day, and I was expecting to have lunch with my mom after church. I walked into their house through the garage and looked over and saw everyone I knew huddled, waiting, around the front door. That was funny, but I was surprised! (For the record, evidently my mom tried to tell them I’d come through the garage, but no one was hearing her…)

a birthday tea with a freind

I also loved celebrating birthdays with friends in college and after college. Dinners, Disney visits, afternoon teas, good times!
Being a high school teacher was also fun with birthdays. Since my birthday is at the end of the school year, the students had gotten to know me by then and sometimes did some really nifty things. It didn’t happen every year, but usually some kid in some class would find out and either do something quietly or get the whole class to do something. My first period English Lit class my second year teaching put together a truly touching gift basket with, among a few other things I don’t remember, 2 pairs of silly socks because “you wear silly socks” (Okay–that was the first time I became aware that my socks were a quirk. It didn’t really occur to me that other grown-ups weren’t wearing socks with decorations. After that, I just went with it and played it up), one of those air guns with the really light balls “to shoot MB when he starts going over the line” (we talked a lot that year about the line of appropriateness and how MB would edge toward it often, but only occasionally cross it), and a gift certificate to the coffee/bagel place that was on my way to school (because, yes, most every day I’d be drinking my coffee and eating my bagel during the first part of their class. They were seniors; I let them bring their breakfasts, too.) There was a lot of thought put into that gift. I loved those kids, and that–not the gifts, but the relationship that culminated in the gifts–is why I miss teaching high school.
My first year in graduate school, I threw an end-of-the-year party that happened to fall on my birthday. That was fun. We crammed A LOT of people into my little apartment; I made mexican food (real, California style–this was Indiana) and Margaritas. Good times! The only thing I would do differently is go ahead and tell everyone it was my birthday. It was a little awkward for the people who hadn’t known and that wasn’t their fault.

My cousin, Computerguy, and me in AZ just after my 33rd birthday

The next year, my 33rd birthday, I invited everyone to join me for lunch at a favorite pub, we celebrated my birthday, and then I got in my car, drove to Indianapolis and picked up my cousin, and started the drive back to California and Computerguy (CG flew to Arizona and I met him there and we did the last few hours together while my cousin flew home from there). I liked the significance of heading for my new life on my birthday, and lunch with those friends I had made so quickly and would miss so much was a lovely way to start the trek.

5. Post anything else you want to share about birthdays, including favorite foods, songs, and/or pictures.
April is a big birthday month for my family, too. My dad’s birthday is April 18; his big brother’s is April 12, and their parents’ anniversary was also April. Then, my uncle’s firstborn, my dad’s first niece, was born on April 18, Dad’s 21st birthday, and my boy was born April 18 2009, his grandpa’s 68th birthday. It’s a big day. My mother-in-law shares my brother’s New Year’s Eve birthday. My birthday occasionally falls on Mother’s Day. I’ve told Computerguy, when that happens now, he just has to make sure I’m Queen for the Day. I don’t know if he gets it or not. His family is much more low-key about birthdays than mine. He’s been off the hook thus far because leap year skipped my first possible being-a-mother birthday/mother’s day combo. He has 2 years to figure that one out. 🙂 (I will give him help–I don’t expect him to read my mind on this one.)

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2 Responses to friday five: birthdays!

  1. I was wondering what you were going to do for THIS birthday.:)

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