SPAIN, PUMP IT UP, AND BACKYARD CARNIVALS What Makes a Barnett Birthday?
My birthday is at the end of July. This year, I’m turning 40. It’s a little weird to say because I don’t feel 40, but then again, I don’t think anyone ever does. I don’t have a huge party planned; honestly, I prefer to stay home and have a small celebration with my family. With this milestone birthday coming up, I’ve been thinking about some of my past birthday celebrations. My favorite childhood birthday was when I was 5 or 6 years old. My parents set up these wooden cutouts and made a carnival in our backyard. We had tons of games, used water pistols to shoot out lit candles, and threw darts at water balloons. For a kid, this was the most fun you could have in July in Orange County. Recently, when I asked Nicole about her favorite birthday, she told me about turning 20 while in Spain. On her birthday, she and her friends went to a small town outside of Barcelona that does human tower competitions. This was exactly what it sounds like: groups of people competing to see who could stack the most people the highest. If you haven’t heard of this, I recommend looking it up on YouTube. It’s wild! Afterward, they spent the rest of the day floating in the Mediterranean Sea. To be honest, I think Nicole’s favorite birthday beats mine. Our whole family has summer birthdays, sprinkled from June to August. Nicole and I don’t plan big parties for ourselves, but we love to go all out for the kids. For months, Harlow wanted a “Little Mermaid”-themed party, but she recently changed her mind and decided she wants a Rapunzel party. She really loves the movie “Tangled.” Meanwhile, Finn had his heart set on a party at Pump It Up. Pump It Up is this crazy play-land filled with inflatable bounce houses and obstacle courses. It’s a kid’s dream. Finn had been asking to have his birthday party at Pump It Up since his cousin had his birthday there last November. The funny thing is Finn doesn’t exactly know when his birthday is. He’ll wake up some mornings, look around with his eyes all wide, and ask, “Daddy, is it my birthday yet?” He looks so hopeful; I just want to tell him yes and celebrate Finn all day.
This is really why Nicole and I love throwing parties for Finn and Harlow. We want our kids to feel loved and celebrated, but, selfishly, I love being able to create these memories for them. It feels good to see them having fun and enjoying those special moments. I want my kids to each have a day that’s all about them.
Case’s birthday party in 1984
As a brother and sister pair, Finn and Harlow always have to do things together. While it’s clear how much they love each other, siblings are always naturally trying to compete for the center of attention. They need their own time in the spotlight. One year, we tried to do a joint birthday for Finn and Harlow. They made it clear very quickly that such indiscretion would not be tolerated again. Finn’s birthday was in June, and yes, he got his party at Pump It Up. He had the best time. I loved watching him run around with his friends and go a little crazy. As a parent, it’s always great to see your kids enjoy a special day that’s all about them.
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