Mimi’s birthday remains a holiday of epic proportions in these parts. Travels, celebrations, balloons, culinary treats, and extravagant recitations of the phrase, “It’s Mimi’s Birthday!” are not only necessary, but one might say, mandatory.
For whatever reason, my mother’s birthday does possess a bit of a magical quality about it to my children. Perhaps it is because it marks the end of summer, and a seeming last chance for raucous cheers and merriment, but I cannot express in words the sheer excitement this day creates in them.
As you recall, last year’s cavorts to the zoo were discussed in great detail for months afterwards. This year only begged the question, what can top last year’s impressionable carnival of animal delight?
In short, a train ride.
Yesterday we rode the Strasburg Railroad and ventured back in time on the coal-burning steam engines of yesteryear. Darling glass windows, plush velvet seats, and whistles of departure greeted us at the station, of which I was highly disappointed to see no platform 9 ¾ . Alas, we boarded and found our seats, as Cutter determined to squeeze the life out of my hand in trepidation of what lie ahead. He is nothing if he is not his mother. He had some anxieties about what was to happen, but after explaining the workings of the trains, the sounds he would hear, and the movements he would feel, he eased and switched between Mimi’s lap and mine while we waited for the “All aboard!”
He was enamored with the similarities to no, not Thomas, but Dinosaur Train. He enjoyed pointing out the conductor and the different parts of the train where we were sitting. The conductor’s voice rang out and we were on our way. He was initially discouraged by the wind (it was surprisingly chill for an August day in the northeast) and swaying of the train, but once that passed he was intrigued and in awe.
Scout was nonplussed by the whole thing and amazed me by her content demeanor throughout. Oh, child, I love thee.
We ended our ride through the corn-filled Amish countryside, and headed for lunch at the Red Caboose Motel. My mom was intent on making this part of the day, as it bore intimate memories for her. When I was young, my mom, sister, and great-grandmother took me on the railroad and we all had lunch at the Red Caboose. To add that to the day’s festivities made it an undeniable tradition.
Both children promptly fell asleep in the car making it a legendary successful holiday; verity I admire and crave!
Last night, my mother and I were able to sneak out and get pedicures together and have some girl time one on one. Such time is rare in these parts and days of child-rearing, but oh so beneficial when it happens. I treated her for her special day, and we compared polished toes. Gold, by the way, was the color of choice. Delightful, and a party on my feet that I enjoy seeing every time I look down at the seeming myriad of children stepping all over them all day long.
Today, on Mimi’s actual birthday, we had a dinner fit for a summer queen; ice cream sundaes for all. Mom has been eating gluten free for some time now, and we can never all agree on a meal that serves the 7 of us the same. Ice cream sundaes seemed to clear that disparity, well, immediately.
I did a topping bar with some of the current favorites in these parts: hot fudge, caramel sauce, strawberries, bananas, sprinkles (or jimmies – you be the judge), walnuts, reese’s sprinkles, gummy bears, m&m’s, and homemade whipped cream.
Ice cream for dinner allows me to check another item off of my summer bucket list, and the kids think we’re all amazing for allowing them to eat gummy bears and slurp ice cream for dinner. I’d say Mimi’s birthday gaiety only made them anticipate next year’s holiday with that much more enthusiasm and intensity.