Some approach birthdays with general dread or perhaps the foreboding that arises from feeling that each year seems to slip by faster, with more grays or wrinkles to prove it. Others enjoy a sense of anticipation at reaching a milestone and rite of passage, whether a drivers license, a vote, the first legal drink or retirement.
For the very young, there is the lure of sticky sweet icing and glossy wrapped packages and a new hand gesture to master with one more pudgy finger. So what turns some of us into party poopers? And, most importantly in the immortal words of the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, what allows others to party like its 1999?
I have one simple argument for you birthday grumps and birthday hiders out there: Consider the alternative.
This year, a very important person is missing from my personal trifecta of July birthdays. She died too soon. Her party should not be over.
Just two blissful years ago this special string of July birthdays days completed some type of predestined circle of life. I was born two days after my mother. Believe me, she fought like a junk yard dog to change that order, including the crazy tactic of spray painting an antique rocker in the oppressive heat of July.
Neither a light cast of paint dust, a slight sunburn, the eau de fumes scent nor any amount of physical activity or aerosol spray would induce labor. She would be a year older when I was born. Later, celebrating our closeness — and in the Hallmark tradition — we even created our own holiday, In-Between Day, exchanging bee-themed gifts.
Fast forward a few decades, and I found myself in the same predicament. Despite a due date in August, I just knew when I saw that plus sign on the stick this baby was coming the week of our shared birthdays.
Would I sneak him into the world with myself a year younger?
Naturally, my son arrived in three pushes two days following my birthday, calling for the creation of a new in-between day. Giving birth deepens the innocence of care-free birthday melodies sung in unison, a closeness and appreciation for the one that brought you into this world.
But as the first of my sons birthdays approached, the last of my mothers loomed.
As hard as she tried to control the timing of my birth, she fought her death. We threw her exactly the party she wanted as a send off, although she stubbornly declined to wear any of the party dresses given to her by well intended revelers, including her granddaughter.
This was her day, her way!
I have come to realize that candles dont glow as brightly without the one who gave you your first light.
With a somewhat rueful view of this years birthdays, I knew there was only way to put the fire back in our hot, July birthdays: two big parties.
Time to download Prince, Cool and the Gang, and every other clich party song and get planning.
For my son, I steered toward a classic, pirates and boats, and hats neatly folded out of our own Alexandria Times newspapers, a throwback to parties of the past.
On the menu, fish sticks and chips (aka fries from the famed Five Guys) wrapped, again, in the Alex Times. For favors, floating boats and pirate-garbed rubber duckies in giant galvanized tubs.
For dcor, a personalized pirate flag against the backdrop of our swim club, Little Hunting Park. Between Pottery Barn Kids, Oriental Trading Company and the Paper Source, creating our little mates wonderland was as easy and fun as an ocean breeze.
After an over the top CandyLand-themed party for my daughter this fall, I was on the way to outdoing myself, although I have heard it said my mediocre party is an average persons perfection. I have a reputation to uphold.
As we boogied in the kitchen to my party inspired tunes, belting out the lyrics to these party hits gave me a birthday epiphany.
What could be more fun than recapturing my youth? A good old fashioned throw-down was in order.
My husband got the band back together and thought, where better to party like a rock star than the King Streets Rock It Grill? It features pitchers of frothy beer and nightly karaoke. For some it would take a little convincing, others understood they would need to indulge this birthday tribute to more carefree days with reckless abandon.
When you open an evite that encourages you to party like you are 25, just like the birthday girl, take a cue and warm up your voice.
One reveler glamorously rocked the house in a bustier, feather boa and phony pony. She won the prize for rock star attire.
She was glamorous, and this was the biggest skeptic of the bunch. Move over Fergie. No one could top the balding man in glasses, who no one in the bar appeared to know, but brought the house down with a little Bon Jovi Livin on a Prayer. Except maybe the neighbor who pounded out Sweet Child of Mine like Axl Rose. Finally, a venue worthy of my silver, peep-toe, 3-inch heel party shoes.
For my part, I sang a little George Michael Faith, echoing my new take on birthdays. A higher power has a hand in our lives, in birth and in death.
This year, in addition to style, Ive gotta have faith! Everyone should be so lucky.
When she is not planning parties and rocking to the hits, Susanne Seidman can be reached at [email protected].