Hilo Birthdays Through the Years

Monday Musings from Melinda by LHS Contributor Melinda M.

Another one came and went just recently. My birthday, that is. And after writing last week’s post about how we celebrate children’s birthdays “Hilo-style,” I got to thinking about how I’ve celebrated mine.2E93B765-3B71-40F0-A691-B3E921642DD8I’m lucky/blessed/fortunate to have a group of women with whom I have celebrated/lamented/marked the passage of time with for many years. We try to and sometimes do get together more often than birthdays, but we are committed to at least these five times a year – one for each of us. Well, it’s begun to drop to three or four, but I’ll get to that in a moment.A126B7F3-6BED-4C04-8897-825AAEB44BF4Our friendships began when we became new moms. Back then it felt Herculean to pry ourselves from our newborns and secure maybe two hours together. Birthday celebrations either had to be a lunch or early dinner date – we didn’t want to make it too hard on the husbands or our precious babies! The guilt of leaving them, for me at least, was a strong oppositional force but we encouraged each other to take a little break for each other.

As our kids got to the age of soccer and gymnastics practice, we began the “birthday ambush,” finding out through an innocent inquiry or enlisting the spouse’s help, where the birthday girl would be at a given time and then surprise her with balloons, a dessert and red solo cups filled with an illicit liquid afternoon treat.

At some point, those became increasingly difficult to pull off, though longer dinners filled with wine became easier.C8A3C81F-0BF1-4B52-AC63-1E430C283F71Soon enough, a “significant” birthday year snuck up on each of us and we felt brave enough to do something extra special: a night away on Oahu for one, a night at the Mauna Kea for another and a night at the Waikoloa for someone else. By this time, trust and good will had definitely been built with our spouses and children!6A2BD1C9-65E2-4942-98E6-F302A23785CFIt’s now been about 15 years of celebrating the passage of time with each other and demands on our time are somehow coming full circle so that the ambushes are impossible to coordinate and our respective family travels – for sports or vacations or work – have forced us to merge a couple of birthday celebrations. But before we know it, our kids will be off at college and it will likely become easier to get together not only for birthdays but “just because” — and I’m counting on that because I’m going to need these ladies and their friendship to make it through that next phase with laughter!

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