Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Triple Birthday Day

I know three people who celebrate birthdays today. One is a longtime friend who is a few years younger than I. One is a Czech exchange student at Kansas State University who spent her first week in the USA in our home. The third is my granddaughter, Jordan, who turns eleven this 15th of October, 2014.

I love birthdays! It's your one very special day of the year. Even if you don't do anything huge to celebrate, the day has a bit of personal glow for you. Not every family makes a big deal of a birthday but a large number do so.

My mother made the day special for me and my siblings with a special birthday morning greeting. It might be Here's the birthday girl! as I got out of bed. Or It's a perfect day for a birthday!  She always either made or bought a cake to have at dinnertime. Those cakes that she purchased were from a bakery called Dressel's--three delectable layers of cake surrounded on top and sides and between the layers with whipped cream. Sprinkles or some decorative edging as well.Mom always said that birthday cakes tasted better than any other cake. The special was baked right in. 

The birthday person had the added pleasure of choosing the dinner menu, a tradition I carried on with my own children. Our favorite foods appeared each year. After we'd eaten our meal, made a wish and blown out the candles on the cake, then devoured that sweet treat, we opened our cards and gifts. I hated waiting all day long yet liked the anticipation that built through the day.

Our gifts were never anything huge or expensive but they were selected and wrapped with love. I often got new summer clothes or pajamas because my birthday falls the end of May. Toys and games were reserved for Christmas gifts. Mom saved the cards that had arrived from aunts and uncles for us to open at our birthday dinner.

What were your family birthday traditions? Did you ever have an exceptionally special birthday? Or one that turned out to be the gloomiest day of the year? Or one that brought an unexpected surprise? Write about birthdays for your Family Stories Book. Include your own, your parents, your siblings--perhaps even cousins or special friends, as well. Make the stories exciting because that's what birthday should be.

One added note about writing your family stories--a woman who had been at the workshop I taught last weekend stopped to talk to me afterward. She said her kids have been after her to write the family stories and she's done some. Her son, she told me, said she needed to make them more exciting. I suspected that she was reporting the facts not telling the stories. I made the comment to her and she nodded her head and smiled. I hope she'll rewrite her stories and make them more than a report listing details only.

The Three Birthday Girls

Vicki Rice Jarboe

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