Monday, May 9, 2011

Unbirthday Parties

When my kids were younger- much younger- I instituted the celebration of 'unbirthday' parties when they least expected them!  Afterall, I had 364 days to choose from--

"But there are three hundred and sixty four unbirthdays." -- Alice in Wonderland

The Unbirthday parties always followed the same format-- I would bake a lovely cake, pull down my precious tea cups, and put little presents around for each of the children. We all sang and blew out the candles on the cake-- then quickly cut it and drank tea and ate cake while unwrapping gifts.

The tea cups were a special part of this ritual. Two of the cups belonged to my great-grandmother-- (they may have even belonged to her grandmother for all I know!)-- they are delicate with little legs on them-- the other five tea cups were purchased by my husband in Hokkaido when he was on a trip there. We had very little money at the time and he scrimped and saved to pay for this romantically delicate set of tea cups. When he brought them to me, I couldn't believe my eyes- I had always wanted beautiful tea cups and never thought I would ever have them!! 

So why would I dare to use my
precious tea cups for my little children in an unbirthday party? Why not just go and get some cheap cups? There was a reason that I chose to use the cups not just for special guests but for my little children- and later in many, many 'unbirthday' tea parties for other little girls (after my girls grew too old). The reason was that I didn't want to keep those cups for 'some special day' and finally wake up to discover that my life was over or the life of someone I loved was over and I had never had a special day-- so I decided to create those special days.

Actually, I can't take full credit for this thought or this plan. I came across this very thought when I was researching material about my grandmother to write her biography. At one point in her life she was a prisoner in a Japanese Internment camp in China. My mom was also in the camp- and in my mother's interview she talked about how at the POW camp, my grandmother brought out all her fine china and her beautiful dresses and she declared to the family that nothing would be 'saved' for a special day- because every day is a special day!! So it was, that each day they ate on nice plates and they dressed in their best dresses, because they never knew if that day would be their last day.

I think it is important for me to make each day my 'special day.' I might not celebrate an 'unbirthday' party. I might not eat off of fancy plates. I might not even drink tea out of delicate tea cups. But I must decide to make each day a special day.

13 comments:

  1. I loved this post. It evoked such emotion in me. You are so right. We need to live in the present. I'm going to start using my fancy china, too.

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  2. When I come and visit Cape Code, I will come and stay at your B&B and have tea with you and your fancy china! (Now that is something for me to look forward to!)

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  3. What a great story and a great message to give to your children. Like Alexandra, I love this. And now I want to create a special unbirthday celebration.

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  4. An unbirthday is a wonderful thought. Like Jackie, I think it may be time for one in this house.

    I have long been in the camp of not saving something for "special," which at times drives my husband nuts bec. pretty things get nicked, dented, USED (gasp. how very....USEFUL to USE things that are intended to be USED)...Good china does no good sitting in a china cabinet. Meant to be enjoyed.

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  5. At least once a month I use something special that we own here at home. The reason being that life is too short not to make a day special. Besides - if you don't use it then it just becomes "Stuff."

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  6. This is beautiful. I think I need to start doing something like this with my girls. We all need some more "special" days :)

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  7. @Jackie - Unbirthday celebrations are lots of fun and create great memories

    @Babette- ha ha- if my hubby had a choice he would keep everything in a 'museum' to be seen and NOT touched! :)...God had a sense of humor when He put the two of us together.

    @Peter - hah- you are so right- it would just be 'stuff'- :) This goes along very well with your post,doesn't it?

    @Christine- My kids- both my girls and my son- remember the Unbirthday celebrations with fondness- the key was they never knew when or where one would take place.

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  8. what a wonderful thought and idea :) I am going to always remember this one. I m sure it was such a joy for your kids. Such fantastic memories you have given them of their childhood.
    I absolutely agree with the éverday is a special day thought :)

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  9. @ limenlemons- where are you these days and what are you up to? Keep blogging so I can keep reading your blog :)

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  10. Gosh this is a wonderful post. Connie, I have made up my mind, first to buy exquistic tea cups and second to celebrate these unbirthdays when I have kids. Inspiring!

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    1. YES YES YES-- please do it!! You'll love this wonderful tradition- make it your own- my children have such fond memories of this.

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  11. OH MY GOD awesome post, Anjuli loved the way in which u have told all of us that how beautiful each day is, truly inspiring. I have and will always respect and be thankful for each day which is really special and remember this post always...

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    1. Yes, each and every day should be special in one way or another.

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