Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In absentia

Today is Clare's birthday. This, believe it or not, presents a challenge. What to do when the object is afar, yet said object's siblings (okay and parents) still feel the need to celebrate?

The present thing proved surprisingly easy. Not wishing to weigh her (and more particularly her suitcase) down come June, we've gone largely digital and down-loadable. Of course, being something of a Luddite, I felt the need to supply non-digital ones as well. I'm particularly excited about this one - the perfect thing for a likely to be apartment bound for the foreseeable future gardening knitter. I expect to reap the benefits in the form of permanent moth chasers - provided I can keep it alive until Clare gets home.

The celebratory aspects, though. Those took thought. So, should you, yourself ever be in a similar situation (one with young -- developmentally, chronologically or maternally -- family members who do not wish to miss out on a birthday party), I give you "The Missing Person Birthday Celebration."

First off, do not be afraid to maintain traditions. Birthday doughnuts are of particular importance in this family, and any and all Lenten practices are suspended for birthdays. (If the Pope hasn't authorized this he needs to.) The lack of a real bakery in Hyde Park doesn't stop us; Marco is particularly devoted to Dunkin' Donuts strawberry frosteds (known here as "pink doughnuts.).

This particular tradition arose from a workaholic Dad who didn't always make it to dinner, but could be relied on to stick around for breakfast. Admittedly, once high-school schedules involving 6:00 AM bus pick-ups reared their ugly heads, this transformed into a bridge between when the kids got home and when the cake could be cut. Honesty compels me to add, himself now makes it home for the blowing out of the candles.

Speaking of which, it is a truth universally acknowledged that birthdays need cake. An absent birthday, however, seemed to call for, well, less. We compromised with the Dinette Cake from Betty Crocker, using cake flour and substituting butter for shortening. It's a real home-made cake, but not a fancy one.

Finally, birthday's need music. Since singing Happy Birthday to someone who's not here is even more silly than I'm willing to be, we will limit ourselves to one more family tradition. The singing of the official Unbirthday Song.

Happy day, happy year!


diane h said...

I love the Dinette Cake - an early married years treat that never quite won over the husband. Maybe if I had put on sprinkles.

Clare said...

Hmmm...Expecting benefits, are we? And yay, pink donuts and cake and the Unbirthday song! I'm glad you guys decided to celebrate long-distance.