The niece just turned the Big One recently, and we had a small family gathering last Sunday over at the sister’s. Having had experienced two first birthdays with the elder two nieces, I know that when it comes to the first birthday celebration, no matter how many times parents had the child practise blowing out the candle prior to the party, the flame always gets blown out by someone else. I remember that during one of the parties, the parents blew out the candle themselves, and it was only after the flame was out that the niece puffed up her cheeks and ‘blew’ out the unlit candle. Much to the roaring laughter of the entire room.
Lesson learnt: Don’t practise on a candle without a flame.
I most certainly can’t remember how my first birthday was celebrated, and I doubt that I have photos to commemorate that (being the sixth child, the initially trigger-happy parents probably had less time, and more kids on their hands to practise crowd-control, to bring out the camera). But one of the best memories I’ve had celebrating my birthday as a child was when I received a card from my idol-cum-favourite singer, Francisca Peters. She was a petite-sized Eurasian lady who was a big hit in the Malay pop music industry at that time. I believe I was either 3 or 4 years old then, and my father came home from work, bearing a letter complete with a stamp, addressed to me. I don’t exactly remember what it read, but it was a birthday wish, and I couldn’t be more thrilled knowing that the singer whose dress style I copied (I actually pointed to the television screen during one of her performances and said I wanted that exact dress, and henceforth the mother had the aunt sew a replica, down to the colour and puffy sleeves) actually knew my birthday, and sent me a birthday wish.
Of course I found out many years later that Francisca Peters wasn’t my father’s acquaintance after all, and that the card was penned by him.
Birthday celebrations are always rich with memories, and even when it comes down to the first or second birthdays when the little one would definitely be more interested in dipping his/her fingers straight into the cake frosting than understanding the highly-detailed themed party, the celebration memories would probably be etched on the minds of the guests. For them to relate to the child when he/she grows up. (I still get teased about that birthday card till now, btw.)
One of the perks of taking in orders for bakes is the sense of involvement I get from the time the e-mail reaches me, to the discussion and specification of order, and finally to the feedback (if any). It makes me feel as though I was amidst the faces in a birthday celebration, sharing the love and warmth of the ambience. I love the little behind the scene stories deciphered from gathering information of the intended recipients; likes, dislikes, occasion, etc. With the feedback, the sense of satisfaction comes from knowing that I had been duly welcomed into a private celebration of love.
Cupcakes know no boundaries.
On another note, a happy belated birthday to the mister’s mom.