It’s my birthday tomorrow. I will be turning 41. In the past two years I have found myself surrounded by little girls and their birthday parties as My Little Caravan has gained momentum. It’s been a delightful change from the testosterone party requests made by my 3 sons. And it’s made me think back to the parties I enjoyed as a child…when in 1985, the hands-down coolest birthday party a young kid could have was at McDonalds.
My childhood was a time before the Internet. Before reality TV. When cameras still used film, from some company called…I think it was “Kodak”? When families played backyard cricket and could afford homes big enough for a backyard. When we were young.
My birthday is actually in the same week as The Royal Melbourne Show. We had 3 terms of the school year, and there was a year when my birthday fell on “Show Day” public holiday, and I truly thought we all had the day off for my birthday (ahhh…the ego centric nature of children- nothing’s changed there!)
Then there was school – Easter hat parades and wheelbarrow races, hanging out with your friends and awkward class photos. Rainy days at school meant meant watching “PharLap” or “The Man From Snowy River” in the AV room.
Do you remember watching ABC in the afternoons? Everything you needed to know you could learn on “Simon Townsend’s Wonder World!” Do you remember Agro? Marty Monster? And every girl’s childhood dream was to audition for the Young Talent Team. How about discovering Rage? And- discovering that Rage played “rude” songs late at night?
Your early memories might be of new toys at Christmas, BMX tracks on vacant blocks, or paper hats and cheeseburgers making up the best kind of birthdays. How about a cold cup of green Cottees cordial, and a piece of birthday cake wrapped up in a serviette to take home with your little paper lolly bag? To some, the thought of a backyard birthday party is terrifying…and after I recently held my 13 year old son’s “Amazing Race” party in our backyard one cold winter day in June- I can see why! But I still love the simplicity that comes with it. I guess that’s why I enjoy every party held in My Little Caravan.
I did the math recently and worked out that I have planned and executed more than 60 birthday parties at our home… I guess that makes me an expert. But the fact is, you are never really an expert because each party is different. They all have their own vibe depending on the age of the kids, the amount of kids, the weather (of course) and the activities. Now we’ve moved Mabel the caravan to the back of our new shop Our Little Caravan. But it was important to me to still have the same feel of that childhood backyard party I enjoyed as a girl. One that included Elastics, hula-hoops, quoits, skipping, and games like “What’s the Time Mr Wolf?” We found our shop in a quiet suburban street, with terrific parking and shops in the strip that don’t operate on the weekend. (Except the milk bar on the corner, which has proved handy for the emergency pre party ‘dash’ for extra milk or sugar or matches etc!)
I am reliving my childhood every weekend when I host My Little Caravan parties. I think I have officially found the Best. Job. Ever!
Some completed covered buttons as hair ties.