Let's Celebrate | 31 Days of Growing Up

Today is my MIL's birthday, and it's bringing to mind all our family birthday parties over the years growing up. We only had a few big events with friends and activities; usually we celebrated at home (or on a few occasions while on vacation) with just our immediate family, usually my Grandma C, and sometimes my grandparents on my mom's side.

It was tradition to decorate the dining room and the birthday boy/girl's chair with streamers and balloons, and sometimes whoever was decorating decided to adorn adjoining rooms also for the fun of it. We set the table with our "happy birthday" plate and, at least in later years, fancy glasses. It was also tradition for the birthday boy/girl to choose the birthday meal, and classically we liked any kind of meat on the grill, cheesy potatoes, and fruit salad, although now and then someone would choose a random menu (one year I requested chicken salad sandwiches...?). There was always cake or pie with ice cream for dessert, and singing happy birthday before blowing out the candles. And gifts to unwrap in the living room afterward.

We had relatively low-key, standard "parties" and in our big family we celebrated often, but even so it was always exciting whenever one of us had a birthday. Birthdays are a reason to change up the everyday routine and unfold the tablecloth, to pour sparkling juice and have a toast in honor of a special person who's part of your family, to be together and be thankful.

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