A few years ago I said to myself that by a certain age, I will love myself enough to throw my own birthday party.
"That certain age" was this year. And amid doubt whether I'd actually follow through, I called my city and secured the gazebo area. Once the credit card got charged, things got real. So I downloaded the fonts (Marcelle and Colleged) and got out my contact list.
The theme: Old School. Feelin' like a kid again.
It couldn't have happened with all the help from friends far and near. My game masters filled up water balloons for the tossing. Laid out sacks for racing. And brought jute string for the three-legged race.
My BFF laid out an entire spread to fulfill my "candy apple bar" request. She even peeled the caramels, one by one, and melted them together. Another friend supplied the most delicious furikake Chex mix ever. Yet another plucked and washed three whole bagfulls of lemons from his tree for me to have a lemonade stand. And cakes? Three: the other BFF brought both the cake I wanted (a fruit tart) as well as "a proper birthday cake" (old school, complete with roses in our high school colors); and there was an awesome birthday brownie (which I may have taken home without sharing) with a secret message.
My only real material contribution was the pinata, which was inspired by my inordinate love of polyhedra and high school Geometry Honors. I'd wanted to cover it in tissue paper or fringed crepe, but ran out of time... but looks okay with seams done up in painter's tape. I filled it with old school candies: Smarties, Tootsie Rolls, and Dum Dums. Everyone insisted that I take a turn at bat, and I need to tell you how desperately difficult it is to willfully destroy something you so lovingly created -- even if you made it to be destroyed. I wasn't strong enough, but my brother (pictured) gave it a good go, and another karate-practicing friend gave it the death blow: a drop kick. Beautiful yet painful to watch.
And the gifts. A table full. I haven't had so much to unwrap since I was a kid. Which goes along with the old school theme, I suppose. It was SO nice to be SO loved by SO many people -- from family to friends from so many periods and parts of life.
Funny: when everyone started gathering for the birthday song and cake, it was all I could do not to sing along; I'm usually the one holding the cake, or taking pictures, or recording. It took some a moment to remind myself that everyone was singing for me! I had to force myself to stay in the center of the circle, and smile. And once I accepted and allowed that in my heart, I could truly and fully appreciate and receive the well wishing. In the end, I'm glad that I gave myself this opportunity for people to shower me with love. Not so much with their presents, but their presence. Both on this day and in my life all these years.
Best! Birthday! Ever!