Saturday, family and friends helped my son, Dean, celebrate his first birthday with a pool party at my parent’s house in Southaven. Guests enjoyed a hamburger lunch before singing “Happy Birthday” to Dean, his eyes wide from all the attention.
A four-inch “smush” cake was presented to him with a lit candle, and with the wind’s help, Dean blew out the candle and dug in with gusto. He even had blue icing in his ears.
With no memory of my own first birthday, I can only rely on the photographs from the day. My mother made a yellow, two-layer cake with chocolate icing for my first birthday. A white candle shaped like the number one was featured in the center.
In looking at those pictures from my first birthday party, it is clear Dean gets his love of cake as well as his table manners from me. Cake and icing covered my entire face and hands, and even stuck to the few strands of hair I had at the time.
There is no record of gifts I received on my first birthday. I have no idea what outfit my mother picked out for the day. I can’t recall the party’s theme, decorations, or invitations, nor do I know who all attended my party. Those details are lost to time.
However, I know about the cake – through various snapshots -- and I know it was served to me on the very same high chair as Dean on Saturday.
I haven’t celebrated my birthday with a cake since I was in elementary school. Most of the cakes from my youth were store bought with a Christmas theme – December 23 is my birthday. I remember having a Cookie Monster cake, and with my seventh birthday party at McDonald’s, I had a cake featuring Ronald McDonald.
Isn’t it a shame that as adults, our birthdays have become just another day? There is no party, no balloons, no song to celebrate another year.
People say as you get older, the days, weeks, years rush by in a blur. They’re right. One day, I was sixteen, thinking about movie dates and homecoming dresses, and the next day, I’m nearly 40 – my head filled with to-do lists and grown-up responsibilities.
Sometimes we are just too busy to realize that every day we have on this earth is a gift from God, and every day should be celebrated as such. As we get older, those birthdays become even more special, but we treat them like another day. It’s a shame, really.
We should all eat cake. We should all eat cake with the same gusto as our first birthday.
Birthdays aren’t just another day. They are a special day, and we never know if it could be our last day.