Friday, January 10, 2020

It's My Party

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 7 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

There’s so much difference between how we celebrate birthdays as children and as adults. What would be your ideal birthday celebration at this point in your life?

It was submitted by:


I grew up pretty poor. My parents did a lot of struggling to make it on my dad's welding business and drug habits. Stress. Second mortgages. Stubbornness. I don't think we would have made it without my grandparents helping where they could when asked, and they were barely solid middle class themselves. And that's just the stuff I knew about from overhearing fights and actually retained. I can't imagine how bad it might have actually been since I wasn't privy to it all of course.

Because of that, because of my dad's temper and abuse and his habits, birthday parties weren't big deals and stopped when we were still pretty young. We didn't even have many friends my parents felt comfortable inviting over except kids of their own, similarly backgrounded friends, and those fell out of life pretty often. My dad didn't get the nickname "Stormy" because he had an affinity for taming gray horses like in some afterschool special about a girl being sent to find herself on her uncle's ranch. He was volatile. Mean. You never knew which side of him you might get. Friends just didn't last. So neither did our friendships, the few we had.

I tried to do things differently for my own kid. We made birthdays into fairly big affairs with a themed party at a park and tons of friends and family. We've done Batman, SpongeBob, trucks, zombies, pirates, Harry Potter, adventure time, stranger things, Mario and more. I've done facepainting, scavenger hunts, pinatas, shaved ice machines, and even set up a piece of a Mario level for activities and made a lot of the treat bags, favors, and decor myself. I wanted him to feel special on those days, to be the center of our little world and to know he mattered to a lot of people even if it was my friends who grew to love him through their relationship with me. It wasn't the birthday really or the celebration of another year, it was meant to be a celebration of everything he is. (And it suuuuuuuucks that he didn't want that this past year because we had a rough one).

I'm not big on being social. I'm mostly housebound because of chronic illness, so being social isn't something I can really do. But even before I got sick, it wasn't really my bag. So I haven't ever wanted to make birthdays a big deal as I've gotten older. I don't care about the aging reminder. I never thought I'd make it this far in life so every year I get I embrace it. Fully. But my love language is also acts of service, so I would be lying if I went about writing this whole thing and not admit that at least once I'd like for someone to celebrate all things me on my birthday. The kind of work and planning that goes into making a party where many are invited but is still super personal isn't easy. To make it about the person and not have it feel like any other day is a feat. I've don't it for my kid his whole life so far and for partners as well. So I know what a job it is, how hectic it can get, and the kind of thoughtfulness and craftiness involved. It would mean the absolute world to me to have someone do the same just once.

I think acts of service as a love language is probably one of the most understood because it's more than "I did these dishes of which I dirtied half so you didn't have to" and it's never really that. It's about showing you know someone well with action. Not with gifts or words or affection but actual action which doesn't end at "I did chores I should be doing anyway." Fuck, it doesn't even begin there really unless the person is doing a chore they know I hate and not just something they should be helping with anyway and wanting a war medal for it. It's "I made you a playlist" or "I saw this and thought of you and snapped this pic" or "I cooked for you" or "I researched and read about your illness." It could definitely be "i want to celebrate all things you on your birthday if you're up for it. Leave the planning to me."

I honestly wouldn't have words, and I would definitely cry.

So for the most part, I'm ok with mundane birthdays that I relish more than I let on. In private. Because I can't really do the whole social experience like most, and I'm not the kind of person to expect a yearly party or huge shindig. Birthdays that are small gifts and heartfelt Facebook messages that make me cry are absolute perfection as it is. I love them. I love the thoughtfulness that I already get on my birthday, and I love spending birthdays cuddled up with a book and a furkid or kids.

For the most part.

But just once, there's a part of me that would really love having the kind of parties I've planned for others, to be on the receiving end of that kind of honor and act of service, and to be recognized for who I am and the part I play in people's lives that way.

I'm not counting on it, of course. It's never a good idea to wish people will do the things for you that you do for them because everyone's ideas of expressing love is as different as the way they want to be shown love. Not gonna stop me from thinking wistfully about it though.

p.s. if anyone ever sees this and does it, do NOT invite family. thank you. haha


here are the rest of this week's participants!

Baking In A Tornado https://www(dot)

Spatulas on Parade

Wandering Web Designer

Southern Belle Charm

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Sarah Nolan


  1. I hope that one day you do get one of those parties like the ones you've planned. And I hope the only family included are the people (and fur "people") you live with.

  2. I'm a bit the same with birthdays. I've never really gotten into them and often scratch my head sometimes when I see people go over the top for them. Part of me wonders what that feels like. It's not like they were forgotten when I was a kid-- they weren't. But it was small. We could choose whatever we wanted for dinner. We had cake. The presents. It was fun. I liked it because kids can be cruel sometimes. Alas, it's always a wonder. But even if it never happened, I'd be OK with things, too.

  3. I have found that my best birthdays were when it was just me, my kids and hub. I've had parties, growing up it was always family and rarely fun, once I threw myself a big party. Sad. It was my for my 40th. I love throwing parties for others but am uncomfortable when it is for me. So a nice dinner, a great dessert, cuddled on the couch with my kitties watching a movie with my favorite snack. That's me. OR better yet, on a private beach somewhere. No family please. Agreed.
    Spatulas On Parade

  4. I’m right there with you. We didn’t have a lot of money and I was the kid everyone picked on so I didn’t have a lot of friends.

    I think you deserve a party as epic as you are.

  5. I don't do anything for my birthdays most of the time either. It was always right after Christmas so we were always broke. My grandkids always brings me flowers.