i’d like some kisses on my birthday
i’d like some berries on my birthday
and tiny sandwiches with soup.
from when’s my birthday?
by Julie Fogliano
illustrated by Christian Robinson
Neal Porter/Roaring Brook Press, 2017
Just as schedules get back to normal around January, Birthday Season begins. We celebrate all five grandchildren, one daughter, and one son-in-law who have birthdays from the beginning of February to the middle of April. That’s seven birthdays (and one anniversary) in about ten weeks. Then we slow down with two each in May and June. Then we catch our collective breath until October.
My birthday is three days before my mom’s. I was a grown up celebrating my own childrens’ birthdays by the time I realized that Mom was still in the hospital for the birthday she celebrated right after I was born.
She never called me out for being her special birthday baby. We were all special to her (and my dad). Her birthday fell into the background, but we always celebrated it.
My mom loved to bake and she was really good at it. She made pies and cookies and cake. We had dessert after every dinner. Really.
Mom was a big proponent of milk-drinking. If we didn’t want cereal for breakfast, she’d entice us to eat by offering last night’s leftover dessert. Some mornings we’d have cookies or cake with a glass of milk before school. Now I like eggs, oatmeal, or yogurt for breakfast. I drink my coffee black. But I digress.
Mom was not only a great baker, she liked to decorate cakes and was really good at that, too.
I remember one cake, especially. It was a tiered cake, shaped like a wedding cake. Icing dolls sat on every other layer as if they were sitting on chocolate benches. They had lacy dresses in different colors. Their beautiful faces smiled out birthday greetings just for me!
I don’t remember creating anything special for my girls, but we always had birthday cake. And they both grew up with Mom’s passion and talent. A couple of years ago, one grandchild had a golf ball cake sitting on a manicured green. The current birthday cake is a blue unicorn, complete with a golden horn made of fondant. My girls are creative and their kids don’t hesitate to ask for complicated cake creations.
Growing up, our birthday season was October/November when my brother, sister, and I celebrated birthdays along with Mom, an aunt, grandfather (Dad’s dad) and grandmother (Mom’s mom). I think lots of families have birthday clusters. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the way the stars align.
I do know there is a time and a season for all things under heaven and this Birthday Season is just getting started.