The forecast all week long was for a dreary, cold, soaking Saturday. I knew we were tempting fate by having our third November birthday party in a row — outdoors. The early part of the week was so beautiful — sunny and in the seventies. But Saturday looked ominous. I bit down the nails on my fingers to the bed, and stared at the sky with threatening looks.
I got a few frantic emails from parents. “What will you do if it’s raining?”
“The party is still on,” I wrote back. “Perhaps the kids can just play inside the barn.” Truthfully, I didn’t know what would happen. How long can kids hang out in a barn? Would cupcakes still taste good among horse manure?
Every hour on Friday, I checked the weather. The forecast was changing. Instead of temperatures in the low fifties, suddenly, it was approaching sixty degrees. Maybe we’d pull it off, after all.
For two hours on Saturday, fourteen children ran around a horse farm among goats and dogs who salivated over cupcake crumbs on the picnic table. The sun reflected off the shiny gift bags and horses obliged impatient children, clamoring for a ride. It was a dry, beautiful fall day — perhaps the last warm fall day of the season. It was the perfect birthday party.
On Sunday, in the chilly wind and pouring rain, it was hard to remember how beautiful and warm it was just one day earlier. I don’t so much notice the early parts of the changes of season. But when I suddenly go from sandals and short-sleeved shirts, to jackets and shoes, I realize that when I wasn’t paying close attention to the day to day, the big changes were happening.
And I suppose that’s what each and every birthday is for me — a day when I suddenly realize just how much my kids have grown. Their transformation in physical development and personality seem so subtle over the months. But when I watch them blow out candles on a birthday cake, I find it difficult to remember what they were like at their last birthday the year before. It’s kind of sad. But also kind of spectacular.
* * * *
We are having a very modest Thanksgiving Day this year. My extended family will be in New England, and we couldn’t join them because my husband is working the day after Thanksgiving.
So we’re having one of my dear friends and her family over. All three of her kids’ ages match up nearly perfectly with my three. And since they’re ex-pats who aren’t used to Thanksgiving food — and since we’re vegetarians with children who hate mashed potato/sweet potato/stuffing — we’re having stuffed pasta shells. We’ll do the “Thanksgiving feast” for Christmas, when we’ll have family in town who actually eat the stuff they’re supposed to.
Take care, everyone. Happy Thanksgiving.