My family, like most, has its own invented traditions. One particular year, my sister’s husband said he would take her out to her favorite restaurant on her birthday while simultaneously, my mom offered to make her favorite dinner for her at the house. My sister, wanting both, and more importantly, not wanting to disappoint either person, offered that both could happen, one on her birthday and one on her “birthday eve.”
Knowing my sister and her husband, and their witty repartee, I can see the conversation in my mind:
“There’s no Birthday Eve,” her husband says. “You made that up to get two dinners.”
“What? You’ve never heard of Birthday Eve?” my sister asks.
“Okay, if Birthday Eve exists, why have we never celebrated it before?”
“I know!” my sister says. “You forget every year and I don’t say anything.” [At this point, there are so many cracks in the story they’re both having a hard time keeping straight faces.]
“I smell a rat.”
“Nope. I’m supposed to get two dinners.” [Big smile on her face.]
“Oh, I see. Of course you are. Well, what will I have for dinner on my Birthday Eve? Look at that, I get my own Birthday Eve, too. With two dinners. And a snowblower. And…”
“Hey now,” my sister protested. “But, Birthday Eve is just for girls.”
“You made that up just now. If you get a Birthday Eve, then I get one, too.”
“Suit yourself, but it’s against the rules.”
[He did get a Birthday Eve. And has, every year since.]
When my sister called me and told me about the invention of Birthday Eve, we discussed that the birthday girl should get two cards, a funny one for the eve and a serious one on the actual birthday. This addition covers both the sentimentality and the hilarity birthdays. (At the time I was living out of state, so getting the extra card in the mail and the extra phone call sounded like a great perk.) We added it, and my sister filled my mom in on the new detail.
Mom was on board. We’re basically a family of food lovers and little gift givers who love to gather around the table in celebration. Even made-up celebrations.
Thus, Birthday Eve was born. Today is mine.
Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. Her current writing projects, including her daily blog endeavor, #Project365, can be found at JodyBrown.com/writing.