Baby at a Birthday Party

Spring is the season for celebration in our family – we’ve got birthdays, anniversaries, Easter, and Mother’s Day. My poor father has to remember dates relevant to all of the women in his life: his sister, his mother-in-law, his wife, and daughter all have birthdays within three weeks of each other. His reward for putting up with all of this? He gets a month of celebration all to himself.

This year’s celebration was extra special for him. He arrived at the big 55 and is glad he can proudly call himself a senior citizen and start cashing in on the benefits associated with that title. He invited 15 of his closest friends over for a long dinner and games to celebrate. To get the evening started, we found ourselves munching on some crackers spread with baked brie and jam with pecans, a traditional veggie platter, and a wonderful bunch of mixed nuts. My mom cracked out her best lasagna recipes (one meat, one vegetarian), spread the table with her favorite table cloth, and baked dad’s favorite cake (carrot cake with cream pineapple cream cheese frosting) for dessert.

Dinner time itself meant my brother, sister-in-law, and I swapping out turns eating and attending to my nephew. Evenings are hard for the little guy, and all of the attention from so many people seemed a little difficult. We found refuge for him in my room, and after some entertainment, he knocked out for the night. I admire his ability to sleep through noise, and almost appreciated it for it let my all three of us simultaneously rejoin the rest of the group.

After that, we literally let the games begin. In our family, evening get-togethers almost necessitate the presence of board games, and this day was no exception. We played both Pictionary and Taboo, splitting teams “old vs. young” and “men vs. women” respectively. The odd part for me was that “old” meant over 55 and “young” meant 54 and under. This distinction worked for our teams, but it definitely messed with my idea of old and young for a while. Married couples were split down the line, and much taunting ensued on either side of the divide. The “old folks” has fun with a drawing of a radiating naked buttocks: the word was “pain”, and as the drawer explained later, it was for the young people who are “a pain in the ass.” The old people got a head start but lost in the end. Taboo revealed the difficulty of articulation for some people and gave me a moment to let my nerdy-wordy-ness shine.

Happy Birthday, Dad. Good luck remembering what it felt like to be young.