How were birthdays celebrated when you were growing up?
|mom, holding me, with brother Joe
Birthdays were not a big deal in my house as I recall. In looking through old family photos, there is exactly one picture of a birthday party celebrating my sister, and none for the rest of us. Cards, gifts, and even cakes were not the norm. My sister probably did the most for me on my birthday, as she took me to see The Sound of Music and gave me gifts such as my first camera and a skate board, both of which I still have to this day.
The only birthday party I remember is one I threw for myself. In my sophomore year of high school I invited my three best girlfriends over and we played pool and had snacks and soft drinks in our finished basement in Des Moines. They gave me the highly desired new Jackson 5 album. It is even now in my collection of LPs.
Was it because my parents grew up during the depression that they perhaps felt birthdays were frivolous celebrations? Did their own parents do nothing for birthdays? I don't know the answer. But things were different in my husband's family. Birthdays were and are a time for family and fun, with cake, ice cream, cards and presents. Once he and I became a family, his traditions carried on first with us and later with our children. Even though they are grown and living on opposite coasts, we send them a card with cash and call them on their birthdays.
Everyone's day of birth should be honored in some way. Happy birthday to me!