Grits and Purls

Spinning yarns about the grit of life


I recently had a birthday, which means I have become somewhat of an expert at birthdays, having celebrated my fair share of them. I haven’t had nearly as many as my brother and sister, evidenced by the fact that I can still remember their birthdays (ahem, ahem). However, as usual, it is my toddler-aged daughter who has managed to teach me something about birthdays.

First, to quote her “I like candles”.

She’s right. Candles are cool. You can light them, turn off the overhead lamps, and the sparkle of the candle light reflects in the smiling eyes of the people you love who have gathered around to wish you well on your special day.

The more candles you can light and blow out the better. Thinking about candles brings to mind my twenty-fifth birthday. My mom had either made or bought a cake, I don’t remember which, but I do remember there was a lot of family gathered for my birthday, and we were putting 25 candles on my cake when we suddenly realized that the box of candles only contained 24 candles. It took a long time for the laughter to subside, and I was so out of breath from laughing at all of the clever aging jokes that I couldn’t blow out the candles, which of course led to even more aging jokes.

If you can live to light and blow out one hundred candles—awesome. That means even four boxes of candles wouldn’t be enough for your cake. Longevity and economic stimulus all in one. Wow.

This year, since I figured my mother-in-law would be making a cake for my birthday and I am fighting waistline expansion with all my might, I told my husband not to make me a cake. However, my husband is smart enough to know we would need some kind of cakey celebration at our house, so he came home with cupcakes and candles. Two nights in a row we set candles into the centers of three cupcakes, lit them, sang “Happy Birthday”, closed our eyes and blew them out. It was so much fun to see the sparkle in my daughter’s eyes; I felt like I was three again, if only for a few minutes. Add those events to our weekend celebration at my in laws, and I got three days of birthday wishes. Really, it doesn’t get much better than that.

The second bit of birthday wisdom from my daughter: giving and sharing gifts brings a smile to everyone.

Not only did my mother in law have birthday gifts for me; she had Valentines gifts for my daughter. When my daughter opened her Valentine from Grandma and Papa, there was a five dollar bill inside.

“Wow what’s that?!” I asked.

“Money.” She said. “For Daddy!” And she turned and gave the money to my husband. Everyone roared.

My daughter helped me open my gifts, “oooing” and “ahhing” as I lifted the gifts from their boxes, commenting on the big heavy boxes and the bright paper and bows.

My daughter with her smiles and enthusiasm made my day extra special. I was with family, surrounded by love, laughter, bright eyes and candlelight.

© 2010 Michele Arduengo. All Rights Reserved.

2 thoughts on “Birthday Lessons

  1. prags21 says:

    “…and I got three days of birthday wishes.” And more…
    Happy belated birthday!!! Thanks for sharing this story.

    1. Michele Arduengo says:

      Thank you. I’m getting lots of good wishes from this post. It’s just delightful.

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