Happy Birthday Sabrina!

My younger sister is 49 today.

Sabrina and her husband Winston

Everyone in our family gets a birthday party, no matter how old or young you are.

Because, really, birthdays are just one more excuse to get together.  Love it that my family likes to get together. Don’t like it that I’m too far away to join in.

Parties are not fancy, maybe a picnic, maybe something at home. Mama makes a cake in the same heart-shaped pan that has been featured in decades of candle-blowing photos. Thanks to Daddy we’ve got hundreds of candle-blowing pictures and thousands of other fabulous ones.

Lately, get-togethers are held at a casino buffet that is equidistant from most people’s homes. Our family has a quorum of math teachers, so terms like “equidistant” are thrown around with impunity. We like words too, so “impunity” is also okay.  Word games, in fact, are one of Sabrina’s and my favorite activities.

After the folderol and food of big family holidays it’s all about the games. Big Boggle and Bananagrams. And for full family inclusiveness: Taboo. In Big Boggle–our playing field of choice–Sabrina teases that I will add the suffix “-er” to any word at all. I tease that she makes sure I have the pen that writes slower.

We use pens, because you can write faster with a pen. Truly. Rollerballs are fastest. Sabrina and I are still both surprised and proud that my daughter Ariel has grown up into a serious challenger and beats us often as not. “I was raised for this,” says Ariel, and in fact she was, starting as a toddler shaking the letters and watching the timer. We gave her latitude and let her use handicaps, shorter words, when she was small. No handicaps any longer.

We’ve talked about doing one of the big family holidays…Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter…and skipping all the food and ritual and just playing games.

Taco Bell for Thanksgiving?

About Karen Ray

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