My daughter went to Chuckie Cheese today for the very first time, and loved it. She is 24. Mind you, when she was little, we had never heard of Chuckie Cheese, or perhaps just didn't get out that much. Today's celebration was for a 3 year old, but I am pretty sure some of the adults (big kids) present had more fun than the little kids. You seriously can't go wrong with pizza.
Birthday parties when I was a child, however, were few and far between. Celebrations consisted mostly of family dinners and getting a card in the mail from the grandparents. I still loved my birthday, though, because it was a special day to request our favorite dinner and pick what kind of cake we wanted. Presents weren't expensive, cakes were homemade, and there were no balloons or streamers. I felt loved and special none the less. In a family of singers (Dad sang in a barbershop quartet and Mom in choir) and musicians (my sister played piano and I played clarinet), we were treated to a very harmonious rendition of Happy Birthday to You though.
Growing up with 37 first cousins made it impossible to celebrate the many birthdays as an extended family. I honestly don't remember a birthday where my grandparents or aunts and uncles were present. After marrying my husband, though, my parents and sisters remained a huge part of my life, and were invited to birthdays, holidays, and get togethers. They still are! Unlike my childhood, birthdays for my children morphed into real parties with all the trimmings. They continued to be family affairs, though, and we created special memories just celebrating at home.
My daughter had a few parties with friends, but those were good old fashioned come to the house, eat cake, open presents, and play games kind of parties....and the kids loved them. More recently, birthday parties for even very young children have gone the cheese route with Chuckie, or have rolled along at skating rinks, hit the playland at McD's, or have been planned by a professional.
This April my thoroughly Italian father-in-law will be four score and ten on his birthday. We will have a birthday celebration for him with the "family" you acquire over 90 years of living. It will be at home, it won't be catered, and the party planner will be little old me. Why re-invent what has worked for nearly a century?!
Oh, there will be cheese....mozzarella, provolone, parmesean, ricotta....manga!
A warm country hug to all,