It's my party….
This past week was my birthday. I’m not generally thrilled about my birthday. There’s the whole getting older thing, which has been quite a drag ever since 29. Then there’s the party…
I’m of the bent that birthday parties should be small family affairs, with a few heartfelt gifts and some good food. However, my husband, John, loves to make birthdays a BIG DEAL. He wants to have the whole day be special–with gifts, a meal at a restaurant, well-wishes from family, fun gifts, etc.
John and I have two sets of friends that we get together with quite often. One set throws a huge bash for everyone’s bday–from the tiny babes to the adults. The party includes a meal and often has a theme of some kind. The parties are on the calendar weeks in advance and everyone is expected to attend even though gifts are optional. The other group of friends rarely marks a birthday. If they do, it’s only a passing comment or joke, not a celebration.
For a few years John and I tried to combine these groups of friends for our family’s birthday parties. We staged a potluck meal (generally in our garden), and had all ages attend a bring some poetry to share rather than gifts. The poems ranged from raunchy limericks written on napkins in the car on the way to the party to beautifully handwritten cards with classical poems. The parties were fun and, I think, enjoyed by nearly everyone.
But lately we’ve lapsed lately in our birthday celebrations. Mine this year included a special dessert shared with some friends and a small gift exhange with family members. It was very fun, low-key, and sweet. I felt loved but not overwhelmed.
However, I feel like maybe I should be doing more to celebrate birthdays. While the low-key events are easy and lovely, they don’t create the kind of memories that will last very long. They aren’t dramatic and showy and photo-worthy. Are we short-changing ourselves with our lack of partying? Should we be having grander celebrations? What do you do to mark your birthdays?