I love February and March! It’s the time of year when EVERYONE in my family was born! I used to say, “We stick out the Birthday Flag, and don’t take it down till Easter!” and that was the truth! Here’s the deal, I LOVE parties. And I ADORE my kids. So put the two together and WOW! that’s going to be fun! And it was. So many other families were content with Chuckie Cheese or a simple Pin The Tail on the Donkey. But not us. We got creative and had a blast!We had years where we hired puppet masters or clowns. Once we had an unemployed zoologist bring his “private stock” – hedgehogs and pythons, mini-gators, and tortoises. We built teepees and forts, horseback riding and Secret agent parties. We rented a cabin in the mountains, listened to wolves howl in the valley while we told jokes until our sides ached. We had tea parties and pinatas, fairies and farms. We had movie themes: Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Alice in Wonderland (stage and film) and Batman movie marathons. We even had a Pet Party – and invited everyone to BRING their pet to our house! That was wild! Even Alyssa’s dentist showed up with her dental assistant – and their turtles. They said, “Who can resist an invitation to party like this? It’s a once in a lifetime thing!”
We held scavengers hunts for 30 teens, and even had a teen party where too many people came. Phones were stolen and the ITouch playing the music was even taken. (Everyone was standing around saying, “What happened to the music?” and then, “Oh noooo!” We went to Medieval Times, Joe’s Crab Shack, and even a Fortune Teller.
As the kids got older, the parties got a little smaller. More family dinners. Less hoopla. It always started with Breakfast in bed – raspberries and cream puffs for Katie, homemade Chocolate Pie for Michael, Alyssa preferred to go out to IHOP! We really went all out and completely based the party on what the child was “into” that year.
I forgot to mention that the FIRST birthday party – Michael’s 1 year old birthday – we buried my dad that day. We went to my cousin’s house in Kansas afterward. They bought a cake at the bakery and we sat around and watched Michael put his hand into the frosting. I’m the youngest of the cousins, and they seemed to think this is what all babies should do at this age. I didn’t really get it, but I was having such a mixed emotional time: MY baby’s first birthday…like this? I think everyone felt a little sorry for me. Michael was totally oblivious. He DID discover that he LOVED cake! And, hey, there was no where to go but up from there, wouldn’t ya say? We did travel back to Austin and held a real birthday party, where I made a cake and did crazy wild decorating, with friends and family there. It wouldn’t be the last time we’d have multiple parties for one kid! But sometimes I wonder if that shaped me. Who knows?Anyway, all of this would be way too much to list out – regardless of how much enjoyment *I* would get out of it! That would be 59 birthday parties to describe. And even I know that would really be asking too much of my blog readers! But good memories shouldn’t be forgotten. this year, Alyssa turns 18, Katie turns 21, and Michael 23. Michael will be in Nicaragua. Hopefully SKYPEing like he did at Christmas. Katie will be in New York City. And while she’s somewhat of a homebody, her friends have decided to take her out on the town! Greaaat. But she’ll have fun, and that’s really all I care about. Alyssa will probably do something special with her fiancé (I’m still not used to calling him that!) I’m not sure what I’ll do this year for mine or for Ron’s. Last year I had a lot of fun all weekend with friends and family.
But what’s a mom to do? Especially a mom who loves to celebrate her kids’ birthdays – when her kids are grown and it’s just not in the cards anymore? If you’ve read any of my recent blogposts, I’ve been wallowing a lot. I turned 50 this year, my kids moved out, my baby got engaged, I’m menopausal, I turned 50, I burst into tears at a moment’s notice. I’m REALLY feeling sorry for myself these days. But I LOVE this Birthday Time. So it is not going to go by without some kind of fanfare. I’ve been pondering my options. I DO know that I’m going to make a special gift for each of the kids this time. I had started Birthday Scrapbooks for each of them. But with the onset of digital photographs, and my propensity to start projects and never get back to them, the scrapbooks didn’t get done. The kids would excitedly fling them open, hoping I had put more pictures in. Next year, I’d promise!
We did video for Ron for Father’s Day this year. I’ll upload it here, in case you want to do a little memory lane walk with the Patterson kids and their daddy. So I’ve been toying with the idea of a Birthday Video for each of them. I’d scan in all the pictures that are floating around from their birthdays. Find some good music to put in. (Did you know that Facebook wouldn’t let me post Ron’s Father’s Day video because we used music that didn’t belong to us? I actually BOUGHT some of the music off of ITunes, but it just wouldn’t take it. So be forewarned, in case yo do this too!)