My kids’ birthdays are December 2nd, December 22nd and January 6th. All three were born within a four week period at Christmas time. Countless people have asked me what I was thinking. Obviously, I wasn’t.

I vowed just because their birthdays were close to Christmas we wouldn’t combo Christmas and birthday. We partied like it was the middle of July. We celebrated at the bowling alley, the roller rink, the movie theater, McDonald’s, Mazzio’s, Show Biz Pizza and Chuck E. Cheese. For Jason’s December 22nd, ninth birthday party we picked up six kids who parents really trusted us and drove them to the bowling alley. Two inches of ice had covered the streets the night before but we are kind of like the Postal Service, nothing stops the party.

There were several at home celebrations in the mix. After each party at our house, I remembered why I said I would never do it again, but kept forgetting. Blue icing on carpet is more permanent than a Sharpie marker.

Now we’re birthday partying with the grandkids. It’s all the fun minus the responsibility and the blue icing threat. Even though his birthday was almost three weeks ago, spring break and Easter pushed Jackson’s 7th birthday party to yesterday. There was enough excitement and energy in the backyard full of six and seven year olds to power a small city.

Not much has changed in birthday party protocol. Games or activity, gather to sing Happy Birthday, blow out the candles, and hope for the corner piece of cake. Open gifts, play some more, hand out party favors, send everyone home and bring out the jumbo black trash bags.

I used to wonder if all the fuss and work would ever be remembered, but it was. As adults, all three of my kids can recall party details and, if the truth be known, Jill still prefers McDonald’s birthday cake. It’s amazing how important seemingly simple things are in a child’s life.

After everyone had gone home with their whacky glasses and semi-melted chocolate bars, Jackson was, more than likely, already thinking about next year’s party. For him, like me, the details and planning are as much fun as the party. Whoever invented the birthday party had a fabulous idea.

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