The Non-Birthday

Posted on October 29, 2015 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments

Have you ever had a birthday you didn’t want to acknowledge? Maybe a certain decade? That was Allison, my stepdaughter- the bubbly blond who buys for the gallery.

In the past, it’s always been easy to find a way to celebrate as chocolate makes Allison’s heart pound double-time.

This time around, though, the big day was one she didn’t want to acknowledge making it difficult to create a red letter day!

I decided to seek out reinforcements. I marched up to my husband, Larry: “Your daughter wants to skip her birthday, but don’t you think we should do something?”

He looked squarely at me … and shrugged. “Whatever you want to do is fine with me.” 

“O-kaay,” I said, dragging out the word feeling a bit frustrated, realizing it was all on me to somehow honor Allison’s birthday. After being married for more than two decades, I knew my husband would join in but he would definitely not be the one planning the party. If you gave him a list, he’d run the errand. If you told him what time to be somewhere, he’d not be late.  As for giving me ideas? Not so much.

I moved on now, to my son-in-law. John’s answer to the same query was, “She definitely doesn’t want a party – and make sure you don’t mention ‘The Number.’”

Phooey, another dead end and the big day crept closer. Worse yet, her birthday would be mid-week this year, and be our third day of heavy rain.  When it rains downtown customers seem to disappear almost like they’re sucked down a drain spout with the deluge. With hardly any customers expected, a staff of two would be more than adequate.  Not much of a party group; just Allison and I staring solely at each other.  What kind of memory would that be?

Luckily, I thought: just skip the party -part! Instead I wrote messages on forty (oops, did I say the number?) brown paper bags.  Phrases such as: “Happy Wednesday”, “Just another ordinary October day”, and “Shake it!” I stuffed small gifts inside each one, tied the bags with ribbons and hid them throughout the shop.

 Who said hitting a new decade can’t be full of grins and foolery?


It took Allison most of the day to find the slew of gifts.  Afterwards she smiled, serving up a great line: “I’m sure there are thirty-two gifts. Correct?”

Sometimes the unexpected is the most memorable. Have you had some crazy birthday surprises, too? My husband has a big number approaching; I wonder what we can do for that one?


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