The last time Garin had a big party was for his 5th birthday. That was 7 years ago. I stopped having those parties once I became the "Old Woman who Lived in the Shoe." You know the one, "She had so many children she didn't' know what to do..." Having 4 kids, 3 of whom were under the age of 3, put my party-throwing days to an abrupt end. I had a few milestone birthday and baptism parties for the younger 3 kids, but nothing like the heydey that Garin lived in (think NYC, Studio 54, circa 1980). Being the resilient person that I am, I quickly came up with a new birthday celebration model, which we called the destination birthday. This is similar to the destination wedding, but far less glamourous, without air travel or any guests. For each child's birthday we would choose a fun place to go for the day or weekend, in place of a pricey party (Santa Barbara Zoo, Aquarium of the Pacific, Legoland, etc.). Additionally, we would have a little family-only celebration at home, with themed decorations reflecting the destination of choice. Some years the kids would beg for a party, but I never caved. I just wasn't going back there. Our destination for Garin's birthday this year was supposed to be the Monterey Bay Aquarium, as I mentioned in an earlier post. We were tying that in with our Spring Break trip to San Francisco and everyone was really excited. Then along came COVID 19. Months ago, we had ordered Shark-themed decorations to tie in with the aquarium theme. With the destination part of the celebration canceled, all that remained were the shark-themed decorations and the family party at home. That turned out to be the silver lining. The simplicity of the day allowed us to focus on what is truly important about celebrating a birthday. The day commenced with a big cuddle party in Mommy's bed, which was so much fun. That was followed by a long walk together, enjoying the perfect day (60 degrees, big puffy clouds in the sky and beautiful horses to enjoy). When we returned home, I made the birthday boy his requested brunch - banana pancakes topped with powdered sugar and whipped cream. In the early afternoon, we sat down and looked at Garin's birth album and also his birth video, remarking on his substantial birth weight of 9 pounds, 15 ounces as well as his gorgeous full head of dark hair. My dad, who passed away 11 years ago, appeared in some of the photos, so we also had a chance to talk about him. We then started a game of Scrabble, Garin's favorite game, which we finished today. Garin beat the pants off all of us, as he does every time we play any game. By 3 we were on to our Zoom Birthday Celebration Meeting, seeing the faces of so many people we love. Our evening consisted of take-out from our favorite pizza joint (Topanga Pizza), and our favorite Parisian chocolate cake from Gelsons, all served on our shark-themed plates. It was a day of simplicity, love, and gratitude, at a time when just being alive and healthy is so much to be grateful for.
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