Ever since my dog got hit by a car the day before my 20th birthday, the occasion has seemed less than auspicious. After all, if the magic of your birthday can’t keep your dog from getting hit, how much power does it really have?
When I was a kid, of course, birthdays were magic. By themselves, they turned a day no different on the calendar from any other into the most special day of the year.Did we have to do anything special in those days, other than cover a cake with candles, sing a song, and open up cards from every relative I knew? I remember that one year we had all my party at the Frontier Inn (of blessed memory), a cowboy-themed hamburger joint, but mostly I remember parties in the house. I remember a lot of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, dropping clothespins into milk bottles (clothespins! milk bottles!), duck-duck-goose, red rover if we could play outside, and then the same games at other kids’ houses. What I don’t remember is coming back from those parties thinking that they were lame, or that the goody bags weren’t good enough, or that the experience wasn’t novel enough. Sure, in time party anxiety crept in–were other people having a good time, was the party a success, but not until late junior high.
At least that’s how I remember it.
My last birthday party, my 50th, was horrid. My best and oldest friend had just died, I wasn’t happy about turning 50, I didn’t like where I was in life, and I sure as hell made it fucking well clear that I DID NOT WANT A FUCKING BIRTHDAY PARTY. But that’s another story.
This story is about my daughter’s forthcoming party, and how difficult it is to plan the damn thing. As a parent, I want her birthdays at this age to still retain that aforementioned magic but it’s getting harder.
On top of it all, there’s even a more than reasonable chance that I won’t have a home to throw the birthday party in.