Written for Tipsy Lit Prompted: describe a family tradition that has changed over time. Mother bakes a cake and the children play games in the great outdoors. Maybe they sing, maybe they have candles, maybe they don't. Gifts are bestowed upon little dimpled Johnny, the birthday boy, gifts that are handmade with care. A bear knit by grandma. A pretty picture by sister. A picture book by best friend. Flowers from mother's garden. A car built by father out of wood. A car built by brother out of sticks and sweets. This was a good old-fashioned birthday party.
Johnny is now Grandpa John. Allison, his granddaughter, also has her birthday parties at home. Her mother hires a professional party decorator to impress the adults and her father pays a magician to mystify the children. Because children need to be entertained. They suck on lollipops and juice boxes and when her mother brings out the buttercream cupcakes nearly the size of Allison's head, cacophony breaks loose. Every classmate and old friend and cousin within reasonable driving distance runs at top speed in a different direction. But the parents are on their seventh bottle of champagne by then, so they giggle and chatter on.
It's a party for everyone! Everyone but Grandpa John who sits in the corner with his hearing aid turned down, observing the madness with amused, grateful eyes. When Allison finally sits before the piles of shiny gifts, she is so high and happy that she barely stops to look at each present she opens. Her friends, on the other hand, don't hesitate to put the gifts to good use.
When the last one has been opened, the exodus begins. Hugs and high fives and coats and extra cupcakes shoved out the door. Wrapping paper litters the floor like a rainbow-colored blizzard. Little Allison falls asleep upon the snowflakes, lips and cheeks red as cherries.