My Favorite Birthday Memories
As I was in bed today, my mind drifted through some of my favorite birthday memories. There are so many good times. I thought about my childhood and the many birthday parties that my parents hosted for me. I thought about some of the parties that I’ve hosted for myself as an adult. I really do enjoy my birthday. Here are some of those memories.
Childhood Roller Skating Party:
I remember when I was in the 4th grade or so, my mother organized a roller skating party for me at the roller rink in McGregor, MN. I don’t even remember who was there or any of the gifts that I received. I imagine that Libby was there. I think I remember Tonya and Kym. I am sure there was pizza and pitchers of fountain soda. It is all pretty foggy now. One thing I do remember was that I wore these hideous turquoise elephant pants. Even though bell bottom pants had been out of style for a few decades, I somehow thought that they were super cool. I thought that they looked even cooler swaying side to side while roller skating. I had a strong and bizarre sense of style as a kid. In any event, I remember feeling pretty darn cool wearing those pants. I also owned my own roller skates. They were white with pink pompoms. Again…super cool.
Birthday Dinners with the Wallis:
Each year for my birthday, my grandpa Walli would take the family out for a celebratory dinner. We would often go to a supper club or “older person” restaurants. Each year, I ordered a hamburger and French fries. It was my favorite. It also became a bit of a joke, since the adults would order walleye or steak, but I wanted just an ordinary burger. I remember one year had been very hard on my family. I believe that my father was laid off of work that winter so money was pretty tight. I remember that we ate potatoes and eggs. To my childhood brain, it felt like we ate potatoes and eggs for the whole winter. Perhaps it was only a week. Maybe it was for a few weeks. I only remember that we ate a lot of potatoes and eggs that winter. When my birthday arrived, it was really wonderful to go out for my birthday meal….since it was a relief from potatoes and eggs. It seems like everything got better after that. We ate other things or I don’t remember eating so many potatoes and eggs. Thus, that is how I remember my birthday that winter. It was when things got better. Really, I still frame my birthday that way. By February 12th, it seems that winter is not as dark and harsh. It has always been the beginning of the end of winter for me.
“Birthday” in Korea:
I visited South Korea in 2010 through a study abroad program at UWS. The program did not begin until late February. As such, I didn’t actually spend my birthday in Korea. Still, for some reason everyone thought it would be a fun idea if we pretended that it was my birthday. We did this for others as well. Thus, we went to a pizza place and pretended that it was my birthday. We somehow obtained a small cake and everyone sang happy birthday. Why me? Why my birthday? I was the least fun and social person out of the bunch. I dream about bird identification. This is all very silly, but that weekend has become a birthday memory. So, while I didn’t do those activities for my actual birthday, I remember going to Seoul, eating pizza, eating cake, wearing animal costumes, going to a photo booth and wearing a red wig, and a group of people singing happy birthday to me. I am not sure if all of these things actually happened on the same weekend even! But, it seems suiting that my fake birthday would have a fake memory.
Birthday in Ireland:
Many eons ago, I also studied abroad in Ireland. I don’t think that my roommates there cared for me much, but they did find me an ice cream cake for my birthday. This was a pretty amazing feat since ice cream cakes are not that common and our program was based in a small town in County Mayo. I remember that everyone went out that night to celebrate my birthday. They offered to buy me drinks, which consisted of diet coke, since I am a teetotaler. Thus, everyone got drunk on my behalf, or at least used that as an excuse for drinking. Still, it was a fun time. I got free diet cokes and an ice cream cake.
The Epic Birthday of 2011:
I used to host large parties for my birthday. I think that one of the most epic parties that I hosted was the party of 2011. That year, I subjected my friends to a long march of birthday celebrating. The celebrations began with snowshoeing at Jay Cooke State Park. I remember that unlikely people, such as my mom and Adam, joined me on this trek. My mom was proud that she kept up with the “youngsters” on her first snowshoe adventure. Adam still complains that he hates snowshoeing. Next on the all day intermarry, was a stop at Mexico Lindo in Cloquet. I love Mexican food. I had a fun time. The fun was bolstered by the fact that I got to wear a black sombrero while the staff sang happy birthday to me. Oh, but the fun didn’t end there. Nope! Next on the agenda was a private showing at the planetarium. The birthday party was treated to a show at the planetarium, though I am not sure what the topic was now. Finally, the party ended back in Superior with an astronomy lecture from Kris Nelson, a cosmic ice cream cake, trivia, and animal costumes. Why did my friends subject themselves to dawn to dusk birthday celebrations? Why the marathon of Mexican food, astronomy, and snowshoeing? Who knows. But, this was probably the best birthday ever. It also marked the last mega birthday party of my adult life. After that year, I moved to Mankato for grad school. Mike moved to the cities and is now married with a family. Carl also moved for grad school. I think this party marked the end of an era in my life. Which is fine. Everything changes. It is a lot of effort and energy to create such as massive celebration. Still, it was a fun time.
Other Adult Birthday Parties:
In 2007, I began hosting birthday parties for myself. I had been depressed for many years. In fact, I lost a few years of my life to depression. Well, in 2007, depression was finally losing its grip on me. As such, I wanted to celebrate and make up for those years I lost to feeling unmotivated and isolated. 2007 marked the debut of my birthday parties. The first party was a roller skating party followed by trivia and snacks. I learned that although roller skating was fun as a child, it was terrifying as an adult. The next year, I hosted a party at Carnival Thrillz, followed by trivia and snacks at my place in Superior. I learned that most adults are not that into laser tag and mini golf, as the party was not well attended. The following two years featured hotel pool parties. These were pretty fun. I have a fond memory of my birthday party in 2010, since this was also a farewell party. I was going to leave for Asia for six months. So, it was a way to say goodbye to my friends for a while. This was a fun party, but like the party in 2011, it marked the end of an era. Vanessa moved away later that year. Rose was in China. Flappy, my pet squirrel, was left behind, never to be seen again.
This party was unique since it was my only adult birthday party which I didn’t plan myself. As such, it was pretty low key, which is great. I liked that I didn’t have to do any food prep, party decorating, inviting, or planning. Adam and Jenny took care of that. The birthday was pretty fun. We played games. Jenny made a giant cupcake. We sang a special song to mark the cutting of the cake with a cheese knife (Oh, Holey Knife). As a general rule, almost all of my birthday celebrations feature a piñata, singing, and trivia.
Childhood Birthday Parties:
My parents always tried to make my birthday special. When I was in the second grade, they took my friends and I to Bridgeman’s in Floodwood, MN. Again, I ate a burger and fries. I also had a hot fudge ice cream sundae. I was a pretty silly kid, so I invented a song called “Mr. Bubblegum.” I have a long history of making up songs at my parties (the piñata song and Oh Holey Knife). I remember a valentine themed party, wherein everyone received gift bags. The bags included pens with removable heart shaped caps. I remember we played trivia at this birthday party, but I wanted MORE trivia, so I began quizzing my friends on Greek mythology. I think my mother even made a scavenger hunt for us outside. She also made heart decorations which she put on the living room mirror with some streamers. I can’t remember when I stopped having birthday parties as a child. I suppose they became less elaborate affairs after my parents divorced. I had few friends in Cambridge/Isanti, though my mother did take a few of us to the Mall of America one year. In any event, I always enjoyed my birthday. I enjoy the Valentine’s Day theme, the cakes that my mother would make (I always wanted angel food), the Valentine candies from my grandparents, the red, pink, and white, the friends, the trivia, the piñatas, etc.
I did have a party this year! I worked this weekend (or took the night off Sunday). Perhaps I will try to celebrate with my friends next weekend when I am off. Of course, I don’t have to celebrate. There are plenty of adults who quietly let their birthday pass by each year. But, my birthday invigorates and inspires me. It motivates me to get outdoors, do more fitness, wear red, indulge in my favorite things, and have fun. It makes February a special time of year. With that said, I hope that I have many more happy birthday memories in the years to come!