Saturday, June 02, 2007

Birthday Season Is Here!

I'll bet most people don't think of birthdays as having a season, but in our family, they seem to. Of the 18 family members that live in Kentucky, 14 of us have birthdays in June, July, and August. Isn't that amazing? Those other 4 must feel like the odd men (or women) out. :) This probably isn't a big deal in most families, but ours goes all out for birthdays, which means an active round of parties every summer.

I guess we need a little history here. When I was just 5 years old, my immediate family (parents, brother, and sister) moved to Kentucky from Pennsylvania. We were apart from all the extended family, so we had small birthday parties. I don't ever remember having a party that was for other kids to come. However, my mom made birthdays a big deal for us kids, all of whom had summer birthdays. We didn't have to do any chores on our birthday, got a supper of our favorite foods, and the cake flavor of our choice, with homemade 7-minute frosting in the color or our choice. Yum! Added to this was a generous portion of presents. In short, our birthdays were special, and I loved being "queen for a day," so to speak.

Even as we grew up, birthdays remained a big deal. We all married, and 2 of the 3 spouses had summer birthdays, too. They were added to the party list, but to be honest, I don't think they understood or appreciated (at least Terry didn't) how special the birthdays were. Terry caught on and had a couple of big surprise parties for me, but he never wanted to do anything special for his.

As we started having kids of our own, my brother Bob and his family moved out of state, and they fell out of the party rotation. However, my 3 kids and my sister Peg's 2 kids all had summer birthdays, some quite close together. Alissa and Chip, for example, are only 6 days apart. At this time, Terry lobbied for us to combine their birthdays into one celebration, but I steadfastly refused. Like my mom before me, I wanted each child to feel special on his or her particular birthday. There were already a lot of parties and birthday gifts, but it was still a manageable amount.

Then the kids started getting married. Of the 5 kids, 4 of their spouses or fiancees have summer birthdays. Now the number was getting unwieldy. Add in 2 in the next generation and one on the way, and it's really out of control. The grown kids couldn't always get to every party due to work, being out of town, or other obligations. It was getting very expensive to buy presents for every birthday, especially for the young people. A few years ago, it was suggested that we do one big celebration for the whole family on one day and draw names for gifts. We did this, and it was a fun event, but it seemed that my sister and I were probably reluctant to let our family tradition die out just like that. We continued to host parties for our own kids, and we invited all to come if they wanted. Just no gifts were exchanged. That us how we have continued. My dad continues to host parties for my sister and me, and we still get to be "queen for a day." People come when they can, but there is no pressure, and we no longer exchange the gifts with extended family, which came as a relief, I'm sure to the younger generation!

At any rate, the birthday season begins today with Neshira, Chip's fiancee. She is 24 today, and she doesn't like big deals for birthdays, I'm told, so there won't be a big party for her. However, we still wish her a happy birthday! On Monday, I will be the next, celebrating year number 59, the last year before I am officially old, I guess. We'll go to Dad's that day. On Wednesday, we will be celebrating Doug's 27th. The party will be here. Then we'll have a break until July, when most of my sister's family and our Kellie will celebrate. In August, we'll have Matt, my nephew, Dad, Alissa, and Chip and the new great nephew. That will wrap up the party season, I guess. It will be a busy summer, and I love it! Life is good...


Susie said...

We have birthday seasons in our family too! Happy Birthday to all the celebrants, but most especially to you!!
Enjoy your visit with the grands!!

Alissa said...

Birthday season is a bit exhausting, but fun! More fun, of course, when I can make it to a party!