I’m off to a birthday party for two-year old twins.
I hope there will be balloons, and cake on faces, and lots of little people bumping around at knee-level. I hope parents sit on blankets on the lawn, chatting in relief and pride. I hope nobody cries too long or too hard. Although if a parent gets teary I’ll lend my shoulder happily.
All the birthday parties, guys, all the birthday parties. My mother and I are very different people who lived in different times and made different choices. But, when it came to birthdays, I took a page from Mom’s book.
A theme, or a plan, at least. A cake bought from an old-fashioned bakery in town, often decorated with caricatures. Mary Poppins’ face in chocolate piping. Oh they were ugly and wonderful. Slot cars, Damn Yankees, carnivals, karaoke. That last one, taken over by parents arriving for pickup, me sitting on the floor thinking, “Go home! Please, go home!”
They were bits of theater, the birthday parties, pulled out of imagination, tradition, and a furious love for our children who insist on growing up. Which is good, I know it’s good. I’d never wish to send them back to the days of wavy blue icing.
I am glad someone’s twins are still little. I’ll stop at the toy store for presents. I hope they have wrapping paper or gift bags. In the old days, I kept a pair of scissors and some Scotch tape in the back of the car for precisely this moment. It was fun, if chaotic, so many swooping last minute errands. I suppose I played the hero a bit, but nobody seemed to mind.
Have a wonderful weekend, and happy birthday to anyone who is celebrating. Cakes are better these days. See, time does not have to pass in loss.