penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

Birthday Cake

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Today I open the thirteenth door of my advent calendar and find…a slice of birthday cake.

I always feel sorry for kids who have their birthdays close to Christmas.  I know what I am talking about because I was (heck, still am) one of those kids.  Your birthday tends to get rolled up with the rest of the season.  Often people don’t bother to show up to your party because they are busier being at a way better party.  Eventually I just gave up.  Now the best present I give to myself each year is a day off work (and that nearly didn’t happen this year – but that is another story).

Today, my son attended two birthday parties – I think the parents were attempting to get ahead of the Christmas crush a bit.  My son was still being grouchy because his skin is bugging him. He wouldn’t let me just drop him off so I could go out and do some shopping.

Instead, I wound up needing to stay to give him some extra comfort and support.  First up was a birthday party at one of those incredibly noisy indoor playgrounds.  I don’t know if you have ever been in one but the din created by music blaring, arcade games blinging, loudspeakers announcing and screaming children is enough to make an introvert want to curl up in the fetal position under a table somewhere and stab themselves repeatedly with a balloon.  There isn’t enough coffee in the world to manage the noise, noise, noise.  Trying to keep track of your kid in what is essentially a three dimensional full immersion video game is pretty impossible as well.  All you can do is just hope they don’t fall off something (you did sign the waiver after all).  My son had a great time.  However, despite all the numerous activities ranging from running like a maniac, to getting an air brush tattoo, to having some magic tricks preformed for him – his favourite part was being allowed to play an actual video game that involved harpooning endangered oceanic mega-fauna (my little environmenta-not-list).  Being particularly adept at hunting orcas, he won a plastic dinosaur.  There are several levels of irony I am still trying to work out there.

On the plus side, I got a piece of cake.  Cake makes me happy.

And I was grateful.  The parents are nice people and they were really kind to invite us (and let me stay when my son was a pickle).

The second birthday party was completely different affair.  It was held in an apartment party room and an excellent juggler/musician/entertainer had been hired (as someone who has learned to juggle three balls, I know how much wasted youth goes into this kind of work.  I was impressed). The parents had invited roughly a thousand people (it seemed), both adults and kids of various ages.  They also cooked enough food to feed half the country.  There was a great mix of people who just gaily chatted away while the kids ran around.  It was a celebration, but it felt comfortable. Like a community.   And I got a piece of cake again.  (Did I mention that cake makes me happy?)

The family celebrating is truly a family of the world.  The daughter is Canadian. The father is from England.  I talked to the mom – who is a lovely and from Argentina.  She said, “In my culture, when you have a birthday, you invite EVERYONE.”

All of this made me think of a certain someone else’s birthday coming up.

What would Jesus think of the way we celebrate his birthday?  Would he trade gold, frankincense and myrrh for the latest Lego set or video game?  Would he invite his most popular friends from school? Or the shepherds in the fields?

I think that he would have been like the mom at the party today – he would have flung the doors open wide.  EVERYONE is invited into the inn.  Everyone is welcome.  Maybe there would even be cake.


Written by pennyinacastle

December 14, 2014 at 4:35 am

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