Some might think that growing up sharing your birthday month with someone in your family would diminish your own. In our house I grew up sharing my birthday WEEK with two other people under the same roof. My Dad kicks off the week on October 15, my brother October 17 and I wrap it up October 22.
Oh! And even cooler we always know how old we are because we follow the same decade pattern. This year is the 5’s. So Dad *would have been* 75, brother 35 and I 45. (Holy hell)
Our birthday week became something I look forward to all year beginning October 23 and sharing it was a gift in itself.
When we were all younger it was less planned. We would have a cake <more on that Thursday > and whatnot, but I would celebrate with my friends, my brother would have his party at the bowling alley or whatever and Dad would probably be working.
As we got older, and our family grew, we started morphing naturally into doing things together on a larger scale. Especially this past decade.
Since I was divorced and had my girls during that first marriage they were doing the every other weekend thing.. so some years we would do a couple of different events for birthday week. A kid friendly event and then maybe a second one that might be boring (or inappropriate) for them.
The constant that we did as adults would be to go to Bonefish. It was Dad’s favorite. Dad and I ordered martinis (usually whatever the special was… we would have that), bang bang shrimp, and *gulp* oysters on the halfshell *gulp*.
Some examples of birthday week events:
Family day at a fall fest and back to the house for pizza!! Here we are about to enter the corn maze in which Dad threw kernels at the people in front of him (me) and pretended it was my worst fear (Children of the Corn) 🙄
Weather didn’t cooperate this next year, so we went to see Hotel Transylvania, played laser tag and arcade games and wrapped up @ Lou Malnatis!
Family battle missions at Battle House. Where we aimed to shoot eachother (and others) with large assault rifles. (It’s fine)
This next year when the girls weren’t with us we went shooting at a gun range 🤷🏼♀️ My first time. Dad called me his “007” for a while 😂 It was kinda fun! And Mom had a cleavage burn from a bullet casing flying off of her shot. Note to self: don’t wear low cut top to shooting range. ✔️
Just a lil family dinner for some Nicks pizza…
The last big event we had in 2019 was going to do something called Whirly Ball. It’s like bumper cars mixed with lacrosse. It was wild and we all laughed so hard (and possibly got some whiplash). We chose teams ahead of time and apparently my Dad told his team to wear gold chains and black shirts. Not sure if you can tell, but he bought a muscle top from the halloween store to look like he was all buffed up and wore it under his shirt 😂😂 My team wore green 🙄🤷🏼♀️🤦🏼♀️
Last year, we had no event. Dad was starting to decline and the cancer was preventing him from feeling up to much of anything. We planned a nice dinner at Cooper’s Hawk. Like most “lasts” we didn’t know it would be our last birthday dinner to spend with him. Ever. We were scared to go out because of the Covid… I’m so glad we went. We drank wine, we sang happy birthday for what would be the last time. But most importantly we were together.
This year as we approach birthday week nothing feels right. The eager anticipation of what we will come up with just isn’t there. It’s not the same. There’s a pit in my stomach as it approaches and a sadness in my heart. I’m working towards being grateful that all of this (and then some, but I had to draw the line somewhere) happened; not sad that it’s over. I’m not there yet.
Dad’s birthday is this upcoming Friday. With everyone in my home having other plans Friday I found myself on track to be alone. I thought to myself what do I do? What do WE do? I reached out to my Mom and told her I thought we should go to Bonefish. It’s definitely WWJD (what would Jerry do). I’ll order the special martini (by myself this time). We’ll get Bang Bang Shrimp and mayyyybe one oyster. And just sort of go through it. One of the dreaded firsts in this year of firsts.
I miss the texts with Dad asking what we are doing. If I had any ideas. What we haven’t tried yet.
Friday if you think of it, go try something new and random with your own family. Or make plans to do so. Take turns in the choosing (but the rule is whatever the chooser decides the group does. No excuses . No whining!) Be goofs together. Play like kids. Put it on your calendar to do something that will cause some belly laughs and untouchable memories. For you, for me, for Dad. 💔