Today is my birthday. 29 sounds old-not that it is old, it just sounds so mature, so grown up. I'm not sure I have arrived there yet. But regardless of my age or stage of maturity, I have been rather nostalgic today-remembering my childhood birthdays.
I have always loved birthdays. I think my family thought I might eventually outgrow this childish eagerness. I was always glad that I had a summer birthday and even more glad when that day was finally here! It was pure torture to wait as all the family birthdays came and went from March, April, May and June and then finally... it was my turn!
A number of my birthdays were spent cruising across the country in our station wagon on our summer vacations. I especially remember my 7th birthday- posing for the camera while proudly holding a waxy, store-bought , smiley-face cake. Never mind that I was in Nebraska in 100 degree temperatures. Or that I was camping in a frog-infested campground . Or that my brother was making crazy faces behind me because he couldn't stand the thought of not being in the picture!
Then the birthdays at home- the coconut-covered rabbit cake one year and my Strawberry Shortcake themed party another year.
But most of all, I remember homemade peach ice cream. Every year, Mom would get some of the first Oregon peaches so she could make the ice cream for my birthday. Most years, I would have that instead of a cake. ( The year of Strawberry Shortcake, we had strawberry fruit pops instead. I was 10 and well, peach ice cream is not pink or red.) Mom would make the ice cream in the morning so it could freeze until after supper when we could celebrate. Well, our family's share would freeze, but we would always take some to my dad's work and share with his co-workers. They loved it and would talk about it year after year. Our neighbors also got in on my birthday. Mom would scoop up ice cream in styrofoam dishes to share. It became so popular that even a couple of birthdays in my teen years, when I had developed a serious milk allergy, Mom would still whip up a batch of peach ice cream while I would either eat some made with soy milk or eat another treat. "We all just enjoy it so much!" was her way of explaining that one.
When we were in Oregon recently, we went to visit our old neighbor who is much like a Grandma to me. While sharing memories, she related one of the things she enjoyed most while we kids were growing up was getting to sample the birthday treats, especially the homemade peach ice cream.
So today as I ate a special birthday dinner and shared non-homemade vanilla ice cream with raspberry sauce with my husband, I was reminded that even as we get older, birthdays and special days are meant to share.