We went to a friend’s fifth birthday party today. And I don’t believe I’ve ever said this about a youthful birthday party before, but I really learned a lot there.
Guests were instructed to bring no gifts. “No gifts, please.” Right on the invitation. So you couldn’t really bring one without being rude. Which is awesome clarity.
There was a vast array of homemade local food of all kinds and goodnesses, and a huge sheet cake decorated in dinosaur style from a bakery in town. There was a volcano made entirely of icing. That alone is a lesson worth learning, no?
There were any number of people from all sorts of walks of life, and everyone was open and friendly and interesting. Many hands were shaken. Many babies were nursed. One man was barefoot the whole time. A tractor was ridden by way too many kids, and the birthday boy’s grandfather took all the kids for a nature walk in the fields and woods.
But here’s my favorite, of all the things I learned: that they weren’t kidding when they said that coming to the party was the best gift of all. In fact, the parents worked with their sons in advance of the party to create a list of all their best memories and associations with each of the guests, and the parents read this aloud at the party, before cake. Which meant that every last one of us was welcomed, celebrated, honored, held up for specific contributions to their family’s life. I’ve never even HEARD of such a generous tradition, let alone seen it in person. These people are human-interaction GENIUSES. I adore them.
Then, after cake was eaten and chickens were chased and trees were climbed and the sun began to set, we headed out to our cars. The party favors were to be collected en route from a beautiful split-ash basket: baby pumpkins.
I sigh, overwhelmed with abundance. The givingness and gifts of this world are sometimes just too much.