Today is my mom’s birthday. I called her tonight to wish her “Happy Birthday” and she was getting ready to have dinner with some friends.
Growing up, my sister, cousins and I used to have the best birthdays. They weren’t huge parties and they didn’t involve huge cakes or mounds of presents, they just included small parties at my Mamaw and Papaw’s house.
|Wendi, Matt, Birthday Girl JJ, Cristy & Ashleigh|
On the Sunday closest to the birthday, after all the lunch dishes were washed and the kitchen table was cleared, the birthday cake was brought out and placed before the guest of honor. The rest of us gathered around and sang “Happy Birthday”, while our aunts and Mamaw looked on, then we got down to eating cake and opening presents.
|Ashleigh, Birthday Girl Cristy and Matt|
|Aunt Baby, gamely wearing her headdress|
I don’t remember any of us having big parties where lots of people were invited, where school friends came, where venues were rented out to entertain all the attendees. Instead, I remember these simple Sundays at Mamaw’s with just my family.
One birthday that stands out was either my cousin Matt’s or my cousin Wendi’s. I know it was one of them because the mother of the birthday girl or boy was responsible for bringing the cake and on this birthday, the cake had had an accident. My Aunt Mary June (Wendi & Matt’s mom) had put the cake on the roof of the car while packing the car, unlocking the door (back in the day of inserting a key into a door lock), etc. and she forgot it was on the roof. She drove off and the cake fell off.
The damage was minimal. We only had to pick a little bit of gravel out of the icing before we cut into the cake. We kids thought that was hilarious.
|Front: Birthday Girl, JJ, and Cristy
Back: Mamaw, Aunt Margo, Mom and Aunt Baby
(One of my FAVORITE pictures–love my Mamaw in a birthday hat)
|Birthday Girl, Ashleigh|
If it wasn’t our birthday, we didn’t expect to get any gifts. Only the birthday boy or girl had presents to open, and the rest of us were okay with that. But, the birthday guest of honor usually let the others play with his / her presents.
I hear about the parties that parents throw their kids these days and I’m a little astounded. They seem like very complicated and expensive. But I don’t have children, so this is a current mystery that I just cannot answer.
But I can say with complete confidence that these birthdays of my youth were wonderful days, full of laughter, happy expectations, and feelings of being special for the day.
I hope that my mom is having as wonderful day today as she provided for me all those many birthdays.
Happy Birthday, Mama!