Between the months of October through November, the Harar Birthday Season commences. If it were a reality TV show, it might be comparable to The Hunger Games, where the only thing I win is a chance to survive and do it all again next year.
24 Days, 3 Birthdays, 1 Surviving Mother.
Every year I have a conversation with myself that goes something like this:
Older, Wiser Beth: "This is such a stressful time of year. What were you thinking? Why didn't you plan this better?"
Younger Naive, Un-Stressed Beth: "We didn't plan this, remember? Remember Superbowl Night 2003?Remember when the doctor shocked the hell out of you by saying you were pregnant five weeks later? And then around the exact same time three years later you found out you were preggers again? Hu?"
Older, Wiser Beth: "Oh, yeah. Oops."
Anyhoo, Jillian's birthday is October 23rd. Seven days later is Mike's on November 1st. Joey's is fifteen days later on November 16th. It turns into one big money-spending, cake eating frenzy where I'm stuck in the middle sending out invitations, planning parties, gathering goodie bags, completing harried last-minute house cleaning and wrapping presents.
And there is never just one party. The whole family is never able to get together on the same day, so each birthday extends to two or three parties, sometimes over the course of a week. Or two.
This year I put up a happy birthday sign in the living room and left it up for 24 days until Joey's birthday party was over on Sunday.
As I mentioned on Twitter the other day, I've escaped with only a small shred of sanity and an extra two pounds. And though the Harar birthday season has ended, the Masone-Harar season continues in two weeks when my sister has her birthday. My dad's is thirteen days after my sister's. Christmas follows a week later.