My Dearest Grandchild,

first_birthdayToday, I want to share some birthday party stories with you.  Starting with your first birthday party, my memories are happy when I think about the celebrations.

The day we celebrated your first party, your parents, Jack and I decorated the clubhouse near your home.  Pink balloons, pink presents and pink cake created an aura of joy.  As the people, including your Mimi, Nini and cousins arrived with some of your neighbors, you ran to the door almost escorting them to the festivities.  As Jack said later, he had never seen a person enjoy their first party as much as you did!  Now that is a compliment!

Your parents have had a birthday picture taken of you each year.  When you could, you held up the number of that year’s birthday.  This year it was nine!  Hard to believe because it seems like yesterday when you arrived into the world!

I remember your 7th birthday party.  You had really started to like horses, so the party was held at a little farm not too far from your home.  All of your guests, including your Dad, wore pink cowboy hats, ate pink birthday cake and brought pink presents to your celebration.  Everyone got a chance to ride a horse around the barn riding rink and even groom the horses with assorted combs.  There were only smiles as I looked around the crowd.  It was really fun!

When I was growing up, my mom, your great-grandmother, planned parties with a Halloween theme.  Then when I was sixteen, she baked a beautiful three tiered cake frosted with whipped cream and decorated with large, juicy red strawberries.  Then when I was twenty-one, we celebrated with champagne toasts and angel food cake dripping in hot fudge.  We had a fondue supper where we dipped cake speared onto a sharp fork into melted chocolate.  Delicious!

A party we had for your Dad, was centered on Superman!  All of the cups, plates and the cake had that theme of red and blue making a very colorful party!  That was his eighth birthday.  On his twelfth, he received a new watch from his grandparents.  As you know, his birthday is near Christmastime.  He proudly wore his watch under his Shepherd costume in the church pageant.  I think he was the only one who knew the exact time the play started and ended thanks to this new addition to his jewelry collection.  On his 21st birthday, Uncle Bob toasted him in an awesome bar in Denver while we were visiting. Great skiing that year except your Dad and Papa Hartzell got lost coming down Mary-Jane Mountain on Christmas Eve. It was a relief when they finally found their way but still a great birthday memory.

So, my dearest Grandchild, birthdays are for celebrating your life but most important for people to celebrate YOU!  Enjoy these parties, cherish all who attend and know that love surrounds you as you grow older.  In fact, when you are very old, LOVE will be the most important ingredient in the recipe of life

I will always CELEBRATE YOU my dearest child,

Love you,