[I am working my way backward through Amy Coffin’s 52 weeks of Abundant Genealogy because I wasn’t paying attention at the beginning of the year. This is my entry for week #26…Family Traditions]
Birthdays are important in my family. When we were growing up, money was tight. My parents often lived paycheck to paycheck. But, they always made sure we had presents and a party for our birthday. Parties back then weren’t like today. It wasn’t necessary to spend $500 to make a 6 year old happy. You got some cake and ice cream, blowers and hats, and filled a gift bag for each invitee. Maybe you threw in Pin the Tail on the Donkey. That was pretty much all you needed to make a child’s day special.
In most families as everyone ages and moves away, the parties become fewer and farther apart. It becomes too difficult to fit in a Saturday or Sunday in to everyone’s schedule. So, you stop getting together.
Not my family. Birthdays are the one time that we all come together. There are 14 of us which ensures that we have a birthday almost every month (minus February and September). We usually have a party a month where we celebrate everyone whose birthday is around the same time. The location is one family member or another’s house.
This month we’ll be celebrating my niece’s 10th birthday and my brother’s 54th. My sister has a flair for decorating. She’ll put together a fun theme. Since it’s my niece’s party, it will be geared toward kids. We’ll have some games and let the kids run around the yard. We’ll have cake and ice cream. It will be a hot dog and hamburger affair as my niece has informed us she would like “kid’s food”. But, no croquet. Evidently, kids her age no longer play croquet.
We are very fortunate in that of my 5 siblings we all still live in the same general area. My oldest niece is on her own now and she lives in the area, too. Family has always been important to us. That’s why we try so hard to have these parties. It’s far too easy for people to drift apart. If we make the effort to see each other once a month, we keep those bonds. It’s important for me and my siblings. It’s important for my Mom. And, it’s important that my nieces and nephew have this sense of family if nother more so that they have memories of us all.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com