I Felt Celebrated

I love birthday parties!

I love the planning,

I love the balloons,

the colors,

the picking of a theme!

Why do I love them? My mom was a working, single parent most of my childhood- we were always on a tight budget and we lived in a small apartment. I went to a private Catholic school all through grade school and my friends at the school were always far more well to do than my family. My mom did volunteering to get a break on my tuition and scrimped and saved to send me to the school she thought was the best.

But despite the fact that we had economic challenges, my mom planned for birthday parties months in advance. They were considered important! Not only that- but she was so wildly creative that my birthdays were always known as the best parties amongst all my friends. We never did fancy rentals or expensive goody bags- but my mom made my parties shine through the love and attention she paid to so many small details. She would come up with games that matched the themes along with inexpensive craft projects that the other kids would get really excited about. I guess the bottom line was that no matter what our party budget was – I always felt so loved, and so CELEBRATED!

So many specific memories bubble to the surface of my minds eye when I think back over all my birthdays past. My birthday is the first week of December- and one year we had a Christmas tree that went up the day before my birthday. When I awoke on my birthday it had been turned into a “Birthday Tree” with streamers and balloons! I remember a “Fancy” Tea party theme were all my friends were invited to wear “grown up” clothes to the party and to drink sparkling apple juice out of plastic champagne glasses. Nothing has ever felt as chic as that felt to us at the time:)

In many ways this blog sprang up from the impact those birthdays had on me. My mom was a true “homemaker” and she had a very special crafty creativity that I envy to this day. She died when I was 16, and at that age I hadn’t thought to ask her yet for her little secrets to making our home feel special. In many ways I took it all for granted then- that she would always be around to ask later.

And now- many years later I find myself with a family of my own. And I wanted to have a place where I could record the crafts or recipes, or parties I might plan. So that if someday my own daughter should find herself without me before I pass down to her what I’ve tried to learn these past few years- she will have a place to go. She will have not just photos of a birthday party, but a small archive of the recipes I thought were good, or the craft we may have made together.

My favorite birthday memory isn’t a specific one- it’s the lesson that my mom taught me each year when she so lovingly prepared a party for me. The lesson was- life is precious. It’s meant to be celebrated whenever there is the slightest reason- and even when their isn’t one. And each year of living and growing and learning is a milestone- and it’s wholly worthy of recognition, celebration and joy 🙂

Do you have a favorite birthday memory?

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