Owen’s birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks, and I find myself feeling a bit bad that we can’t invite all the people I’d like to honor with an invitation. But as an adult, I’ve long thought that my own mom’s birthday tradition was very useful: We got as many kid-guests, not counting relevant relatives, etc., as we were old. So when I was six, I had six guests.*
So Owen will be two, and will have two guests. There will also be a few cousins and a few adult relatives and like-family friends, and there will be aunts and uncles and grandparents. That should fill the house.
Like my mother did for me, I am making Owen’s cakes for as long as he’ll allow. I adored the love my mom put into cakes, nothing fancy, nothing that took a lot of skill, but creative and loving.
He’s only two, or nearly two, but understands parties. On his dad’s birthday, not long ago, after dinner he said he’d eaten “happy birthday” for dinner. When he’s been interested in a new toy, I remind him that his birthday is coming, and people will give him presents, and some of those presents might be toys. He seems to understand. And this week will start the culling of his old toys “for Giovanni,” the nearly-one down the street who inherits Owen’s old toys and most of his old clothing. That will leave room, and remind him that we give things, too.
Two! How did that happen? He was a tiny infant just a week ago, no?
*Actually, when I was six, I invited six guests. Mumps went around hard that spring, and I ended up with six cancellations, so to avoid having no party, my mom invited a co-worker’s friend. She was maybe 12, and brought me a lovely craft kit that would perhaps become appropriate when I was twelve, but wasn’t then. I still remember trying to be nice, and the pain of such an artificial party. I would have preferred to postpone it.