Celebration Statute of Limitations

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We were on our way to New York for Colleen’s birthday celebration when the call came from my sister. After knocking out the usual intro, she dropped in a curious nugget:

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“I was thinking of having a party for Robert and Greg too.”

Celebration Statute of Limitations: how long do you get to celebrate? Click To Tweet

“Oh?” I replied. My grip on the cell phone tightened. My nephew Robert had celebrated his fourteenth birthday two weeks earlier, and my brother Greg had graduated from college the month prior, all worthy subjects for celebration, but try telling that to a three-year-old. Sharing isn’t a word that often enters their vocabulary. And sharing a birthday? How would I explain it?

Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead Celebration
Celebrate Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead? Why not?

The Reason

Colleen’s an only child, so she’s always been the star of our show, which made me wonder if I was upset for the right reasons. Was I upset for her sake, or for mine? I didn’t want anyone to share the spotlight with my daughter, but would she even know the difference? In six months, she wouldn’t even remember the names of her cousins, let alone her third birthday celebration. I was the one who was going to carry the scars of a third birthday party gone awry for the remainder of my life.

She went on: “We didn’t have a chance to celebrate for either of them, so I thought we’d combine all three.”

“Uh huh,” I said. “I’ll talk it over with Lana.”

After we hung, up, I related the discussion to my wife, who was even more vehement in her opposition. “No,” she said. “No. They had their opportunity to celebrate. They blew it. Tough luck.”

“I agree. What’s the statute of limitation on celebrations anyway? There have to be restrictions. We can’t just celebrate whatever we want, whenever we want, willy-nilly.”

Statute of Limitations: Let’s Really Celebrate!

Or can we? If my sister wanted to celebrate, okay then, let’s do it.

How far back are we going to go? Why stop with events that happened a month ago, or even two? I don’t remember celebrating my fourteenth birthday. I had to celebrate Christmas 1981 alone on a ship in Pennsylvania. Do those count? Can I finally get a chance to celebrate those two events?

In fact, let’s go back even further.

“You know I don’t think we’ve given Armistice its proper due. I want to revel in our victory over the Huns!”

“Let’s add that to the list,” she said. “I can see you in a nice doughboy uniform with the flying saucer helmet.”

“And how ‘bout the Battle of Vienna?” In 1683, the Poles and Austrians had stopped the bloody Saracens from penetrating the gates of Europe. “I think I’d look good as a Polish Hussar.”

“I’ll rent a horse.”

“We’ll charge that party like Napoleon at Austerlitz! No survivors. We’ll leave it in ruins!”

“This is your sister’s house we’re talking about.”

“Maybe I’ll just stomp on her welcome mat.”

“Forcefully, though.”


Birthday Celebration: Have Some Cake!
Birthday Cake!

Just a Birthday Celebration

Fortunately, it never came to that. My sister came to her senses, and opted to celebrate Colleen’s birthday only.

I’m not sure how far back I would have gone or what other holidays I would have wanted to celebrate. The end of the Hundred Years War?  The Day of the Dead?  The death of Sophocles? The invention of fire? I was prepared to take this to the limit.

Instead, a sweet, little girl had a birthday. This was better.


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