Birthday Sharing

We share birthday parties in our family.

Part of it is pragmatic; part of it for the fun of it, inspite of the challenges this presents!

A lot of us were born on each other's birthdays. I was born on Christmas Day, the same as you-know-who. My sister was born on our father's birthday; my one nephew on his mother's birthday; my son on my grandmother's birthday.

Then we have this huge cluster of these mass birthdays, Mother's Day and Father's Day within a month or so of each other.

The photo shows from left to right, niece/God-daughter Candice, June 4th, my Dad, Bob, May 29th, my brother-in-law Randy, April, sister Barbi May 29th, and her daughter Sierra, just because she always helps everybody blow out their candles...and open their presents. She has taken over that job from her older brothers (not shown) and my son, Calvin whose birthday is next month.

Our birthday parties are huge fetes (like Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving etc), with more food than anyone can ever eat, at least five conversations going on at once with the younger set normally retreating to the video gaming area of the house while Papa (my Dad) finds a good war movie on one of numerous televisions in the house whose turn it is to host. (We rotate between the three sisters and are waiting for the eldest niece, Candice, now married, with a big enough house, to join the rotation...any time Candice...)

Two of the so far three venues have hot tubs so there are always damp and towelled bodies moving in and out of the house...and the inevitable, "Can someone grab me a towel" and "Don't sit on that chair, you're wet!"

Our biggest challenge these days is getting everyone fed at the same time while the hot food is still hot and cold food still cold. We've experimented with the buffet model, the runner/server model and the platters on the table model. The jury is still out on the winning approach.

We're working on refining the present-opening ritual but it's a work in progress...just like the Christmas present ritual. Every year we decide, we will open one at a time but it always ends up a free for all with Sierra, yes the same five-year old in charge of candle-blowing and present-opening, also ripping open cards that often get separated from the gifts, making for a game of match the card to the present! (please note: every child in this family has played this role! It is mandatory!)

When all is said and done and those last cups of tea emptied from the teapots, our family inevitably attempts to exit all at once. Keep in mind our numbers usually top 18 now, counting new husbands and children, sometimes aunts and mothers-in-law! Now, there is an inherent problem in squeezing a dozen and half people through a normal-sized front hall and doorway all at once! Add in the good-byes and kisses, often repeated because in the melee, one often forgets who has been kissed and said good-bye to, plus, looking for and putting on shoes/boots and other outer wear and pandimonium results!

My Dad's approach is to somehow be first out. He starts looking at his watch during dessert and puts his hat and coat on within moments of the last present-opening. Trouble is my Mom is usually last out. Thus my Dad is left to wait outside in the nice weather or in the car during wind storms and snowsqualls. Sometimes, we're left wondering if he's still out there or just where is he?

After the last car honks the horn in the expected, traditional fashion, much to the on-going chagrin of all our neighbours, I am sure, the host family is left to marvel at how this scene is replayed time and time again....and marvel at how marvelous it all is! Until next time....I can hardly wait! And I think it's my turn!