Monday, January 22, 2007

A Birthday Party

Well, birthday parties aren't what they used to be...

Nowadays, they come stocked with dj's and mobile menageries, professional face painters, bouncy castles and more chemicals than you can shake a stick at (in the form of candies, chips, snacks and pop.

I feel my age, and older, when I go to a child's birthday party.
Because they make me remember what it was like to be small...

When I was young enough to go to birthday parties that were taken seriously, the entertainment was homegrown all the way. Pin the tail on the donkey, hot potato, blind man's bluff, musical chairs. Admittedly my family did things a bit differently. We were given the most amazing scavenger hunts to go on, with my parents hiding elaborate clues, complete with hand drawn pictures and maps, arrows chalked on the street and on walls, and balloons peeking from between the leaves of the apple tree.

I don't remember the final prize, but I do remember the hunt for clues. A flock of little, screaming, giggling girls running from tree to tree, lamp post to lamp post, looking under rocks and through post slots, racing each other through the neighbours' yards to see who could find the next clue. And when it was found, we would all gather around trying to figure out what the clue meant. It was so exciting.

And then I grew up and the wide eyed innocence of youth became something that was not cool to have. Of course, now I know better, and wish I could revert to that time of unconditional belief in everything. Where there was good and evil and everything was cut and dried, black and white. There were no shadows then, except for the long evening shadows of mid-summer, telling us that bedtime was soon to come and that a bedtime story with a happy ending would be our just desserts for existing.

Nowadays, like most adults, I live vicariously, enjoying watching joy light up the face of a child as a grubby hand reaches out for a heart shaped marshmallow. Or the unashamed participation in a puppet play, yelling at the hero that the villain was just behind the curtain, hands partly covering eyes in anxious anticipation of what was to come.

Or the tightly screwed up eyes as the all important wish is made before the candles on the homemade birthday cake are blown out.

If I could remake just one wish, what would it be?

I wish I could regain the feeling of not having a care in the world and being absolutely, supremely confident that everybody loved me just for being.

Not: just for being me.
Just for being.
There is a difference...

But as we all know, you can't tell anyone your wish or
It won't come true...

Oh well.


Gledwood said...

Have you heard about the latest trend, it was on BBC news... about parents (mainly in America, but it happens here in the UK as well) spending literally THOUSANDS if not HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars on their kids' birthday parties... one had a 400 guest black tie do with limos ferrying people back and forth - and this was for their daughter's FOURTH birthday!!!

I'm new to blogspot by the way and found yours by clicking randomly on "next". Pop by mine if you like: It's very different indeed to yours!!!

Best wishes,


aja said...

Hey Gledwood,
I've seen bits of a show called "My Super Sweet Sixteen" on MTV or VH1 - talk about rampant consumerism and sickeningly spoiled brats! And it is all the parents fault. Totally unreal. But your 4 year old story definitely tops anything I have ever heard of. Ugh!

I popped by your site - too right different indeed! Good luck with it and hang in there. Cheers 8^)

burekaboy — said...

awwwww....such sweet memories, hon. i remember parties like that but without the screaming, giggling girls (who would have been in the "yech" category at that time).

u can't believe what goes on now, etzleynu, if u know what i mean. sick. sign of today's society. des enfant tros gâtés.

nice puppet theatre.

aja said...

Hey BB,
All over the world - but you are so lucky to not see the Israeli version. Actually, this was a very subdued do. And I liked the puppet theatre too. 8^}