"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.