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Carousel Cake & Pop Beads 

My fifth birthday party was the best birthday party my mom ever had for me!  Grandma Rosie was there, along with all my favorite friends - Missy, Lisa, her brother, Rusty, his sister, and four other friends I cannot recall the names of.  


My mom hung clusters of pink, yellow, blue and white balloons together with streamers from the wood slats of the covered patio that extended from the back of the house and ended just before the edge of the pool.  As simple as they were, the hanging decorations added a whimsical effect and increased the celebratory feeling of my birthday tenfold.


The cake, though!  She worked so hard on it!  It was a double layer, round cake with a base layer of white frosting.  In red frosting she wrote, “Happy Birthday” around the entire edge of the cake.  The cake topper was a marvelous carousel set.  It had a circular red tent with five plastic carousel horses in a galloping pose under it and three circus flags on top of it.  And of course there were candles.  From the cake to the decorations to the plates and napkins, everything matched.  I was over the moon and beaming from so much attention and adoration.


While I cannot remember the names of some of my friends that were there, I do recall my favorite gifts!  Missy gave me a big container of pop beads, and Lisa and her brother gave me two beautiful Japanese dolls that were enclosed in a glass case. 


I was never allowed to have the glass-case-enclosed Japanese dolls.  My mom took them and placed them on her dresser.  I was allowed to look at them, but they were not to be touched.  To this day, that is where they remain - in her bedroom, on her dresser.  From the day I received them, my mom told me that they were “too fragile” for me to keep in my room or have in my possession.  I was able to grasp this concept when I was little, and held on to hope for the day that I was "big enough" to keep the gift on my own dresser.  However, as I reached adolescence and continued to hear the message, I lost hope and instead internalized her words to mean that I was not special enough or gentle enough to take care of such a precious gift.


The pop beads were a different story.  I could play with them all I wanted.  In fact, after my party, Missy and I made necklaces and bracelets with them, and my mom even let us wear them to my birthday dinner.


This birthday dinner was one of the many new traditions that came with my new dad.  Along with my party, I got to choose a fancy restaurant to have dinner at, and, I got to invite a friend.  I chose Missy, of course.  And my restaurant of choice was a prime rib restaurant called Gulliver’s.  The moment you stepped into Gulliver's, you were transported back to 18th century England and directly into Johnathan Swift's adventure novel, Gulliver’s Travels.  Needless to say, Gulliver was the restaurant’s mascot, and there were framed painting-like pictures of him and his adventures all over the walls.  My favorite picture was the one of Gulliver laying on the ground being tied up by hundreds of Lilliputian’s (The tiny, 6 inch tall people that inhabited the fictional island of Lilliput).


After dinner, we went back home and Missy got to sleep over - I believe this was my first ever sleep over with a friend.

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