birthdays and hangnails

To me, birthdays have always been magic. My birthday began with a Birthday Parade, celebrating me, and it went on from there. to the best of my knowledge, my father invented the Birthday Parade. The person whose birthday it is, stays in bed. The rest of the family, if there is a family (more anon), gets up a little early and gathers together with the presents, then troops in singing “Happy Birthday”. They cluster around while the presents are opened with jokes and joy and good wishes before the day begins. If it begins like that, how can a day be anything but magic?

During the war (WWII), my mom was a single mother; all my male relatives, and one female, were in the Forces. Mother couldn’t sing but she did, for my Parade. Later, when Bill and I were married, no family yet, he set up a one-man Parade. He taped little birthday banners and happy-day pennants on a bunch of pencils which he tucked between his fingers and waved as he trooped in singing. After I was widowed I moved to Toronto in July of 1973, with my two boys. The girls were both at university, Kate in Kitchener-Waterloo, Liz at North York, UofT, both horribly distant especially for anyone without a car. Yet they showed up very early, before 8 a.m. to make a birthday parade for John, whose birthday is in September.

It was a lovely tradition.

Happy Birthday to me.