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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Birthday Party

This Friday is my birthday.  On Friday I will go out to dinner with my family.  On Saturday I will be celebrating it with 50-80 of my closest friends (and if this has you upset, please check your Events tab on Facebook-- you were probably invited and didn't realize this....).

Yes, most years since I've been an adult, I've thrown myself a birthday party.

Apparently, this is weird.  Or selfish. Or something.  People often have an odd reaction.  It surprises me.

Seriously- what is so weird about having a birthday party?

I love my friends- I actually adore them.  They make me laugh.  They are there when I need them.  They are my home team, so to speak.  They are funny.  They are vivacious.  They are smart.  I cannot think of a better way to spend one night a year better than gathering all of these spectacularly unique people into one room and getting them drunk.  It's a blast.

I used to have 29th birthday anniversary parties usually at restaurants, then at 36, I started to focus on theme parties.

Don't cringe-- they've taken on a life of their own.

The first theme was "Party Like You're in College"- everyone wore their college shirts, we got a keg, there were jello shots and all the food came in a bag and was generic.  To say it was fun, is an understatement.

Then there was the "Come Stand in my Kitchen and Drink" party-- actually there was no theme, but that's what happened.  I think it was supposed to be Italian theme... oh well... it's a blur...

Then the cocktail/Rat Pack party.  Everyone got all decked out- I had a beehive.  I found out that I LOVE Harvey Wallbangers.  Way too much fun.

Last year's theme was red.  I had red balloons, sangria, red velvet cupcakes, everyone wore red.  Again, fun.  One of my friends who had never come before said "Now I get what the big deal is...."

This year's theme is Tacky Tiki - a cheesy luau party.  Pina colada punch, mai tai's, pineapple, spam- and jello-- I always have jello at my parties.

My kids used to spend the night at my mother-in-law's, but starting last year, we let them stay.  They stay upstairs and go to bed at 10 instead of 8.  They have been excitedly helping me shop and get ready.

Now before you get this crazy idea that the party is this faboo catered affair- it's not.  Not remotely.  The food is good, but nothing special.  I use paper plates and plastic cups-- it's down right tacky from a Society Page standard.

What makes my parties so much fun and makes everyone get excited about them is the fact that I have the coolest friends ever.

They embrace the theme.  They come to have fun- not out of obligation or commitment.  They are the most assorted group of characters you'll ever see.  They are collected from various stages in my life.  And if you haven't figured it out yet, I have a lot of hobbies.  With that comes people from every walk of life.  Throw them all in the room together (usually standing on each other in the kitchen) and it's simply magical.

I love how my kids peek down the stairs and see grown up's having fun- especially their parents.  I hope that somehow they are learning the importance of having friends and staying young.  That you don't necessarily have to wait to be invited to a party-- simply throw one.  You don't have to be 21 to have a good time.  I plan on having fun with my friends well into my 90's, should I be so fortunate.  I want my kids to know that you make your own fun.

And I'm not uptight about hosting a party.  My theory is if it's not perfect, my real friends don't care.  And if someone does care, they're not my real friend so I don't care what they think.  My parties are borderline tacky- Martha Stewart would cringe- but I also think Martha would have a blast. There are no caterers, no fancy invitations.  The conversations are lively- there are no quiet moments or need for cocktail party conversation starter games.  They aren't expensive, my house isn't immaculate, but I don't think I've met anyone yet who doesn't say "What are you doing next year??" on their way out the door.

My friends are one of my greatest gifts in life.  I think my birthday is the perfect time to celebrate that.  Every year I step to the side and watch all these fantastic people interact.  My thoughts eventually turn to "Why does everyone cram into the kitchen....." but it still gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.  Often accentuated by alcohol, but not always.

So yes, you might think it's sad that I throw my own party.  I would take your pity, but I'll be too busy having fun.


Helen said...

I'm glad you throw yourself a birthday party. I think I've told you before that my beloved and I have completely different ideas of how birthdays should be celebrated, so I usually end up planning my birthday too, with the exception being when he threw me the surprise 50th.

I wish I could be there! I think one of your birthday parties needs to be put on my bucket list...

Kristen said...

Oh, man, I am so jealous! I always wanted be a person who threw parties for my own birthday, but between an anti-social husband and too many friends allergic to my cats, it just never came to pass. Enjoy yours, and apologize to no one for them!

And Happy Birthday. :)