Take every opportunity to celebrate


A few days ago I went to a small gathering to celebrate the birthday of a friend. Keep in mind that the other women there were all about my age, so it was nothing rowdy or boisterous, to say the least. We had a nice time visiting, taking some time to catch up with each other, and, of course, share in some good food. And that’s enough.

Which got me to thinking about how the way we commemorate our birthday anniversaries as we age. There are some folks, I’ve discovered, who don’t even want to admit to another birthday and certainly won’t tell their age. An obituary I read in the past few years ago started, “Margaret never revealed her age during her life, and she took that number with her to her grave.” That contrasts with those I have met who almost brag about their age as they grow older.

And yet we are happy to help our child or grandchild celebrate reaching the milestone of their first birthday. How many photographs are there of a young child sitting in a high chair smiling at the cake on the tray in front of them?

By the time children are in elementary school, birthdays are a really Big Deal for them, and they often remind us how long it is till their big day. There may be a party with their friends, maybe even all of their classmates. They are excited to get older and eager to make the most of it. It’s not unusual to hear “I’m six and a half!” or “I’ll be five next week!” when you ask a child their age.

I am amazed at the scope of birthday parties for youngsters these days, even on their very first birthday when the child certainly doesn’t know what’s going on. I’m not sure whatever happened to inviting grandparents and a few other relatives to watch the birthday girl or boy smear his or her first birthday cake all over their face, but that seems to have been replaced with glitz, bling, enough presents to stock a toy store, and an oversize invitation list.

Some children’s birthday parties have their own theme. That’s popular now, as are countable cakes, an enchanted forest theme, or serving decorated donuts instead of cake. In the category of everything old is new again, entertaining the children with a scavenger hunt is again popular.

Sometimes I think things like kids’ birthday parties are getting to be way too much. But I also believe that there are few enough reasons to celebrate in this life, so we must make the most of any opportunity that we have.

That includes throwing a birthday party for someone you care about, regardless of the age.