My daughter turned 13 last Sunday, February 5th. She hemmed and hawwed about how to celebrate. “Don’t you want your friends over for a sleepover the night before, and then a celebratory lunch or breakfast?” we inquired? (Tradition.) “No…..IDK……I’m not sure……hmmmm….sigh…” was her response (or the gist of it, anyway). Well, turning 13 doesn’t happen every day, so I was a little sad that she wasn’t honing in on something special and fun for that day (yes, I’m a sucker for celebrations).
(One of her) best friend to the rescue! “Let’s throw Avanti a surprise!”, she says. YES! A surprise! All my maternal motivation kicks into high gear, and we plan all week long. Emails and texts fly back and forth, plans are hatched, buried, rehatched, finalized, tweaked………and then, the big day arrives! Avanti lounges in bed all morning, feeling more than a wee bit sorry for herself (since purposely, none of her friends have called). Not only that, she complains, she calls up one of her bffs and says “Guess what day it is?”, to get “Sunday?…Umm….no….Superbowl?!!” as a response. She sinks lower into her bed and watches episodes of Glee. Perfect. This gives me a good window to drop off balloons for her friends to carry over, and fine tune the grand entrance.
Finally, they arrive, and tip toe (well – as much as possible – 5 girls, balloons, an excited dog, and lots of ‘shsshhh’ ing) into my bedroom, where a completely stunned Avanti bursts into tears to see her gang, who throw themselves on her and proceed to out shout each other with explanations and wishes. (For those of you who don’t think girls can be loud, I challenge you into a room, or a car, with more than 2 teenagers. I think you may change your minds.)
The procession then makes their way, after the shrieking and crying settles down, to our living room, where they have planned a performance (a song and a poem). Lo and behold, I see my daughter’s little gang of friends, not a drop of Indian blood among them, belting out “Happy Birthday” in Hindi (click to watch)!!!! “Janamdin Mubarak, priya Avanti” they sing, almost flawlessly! (Google translate, for the curious.) Now, it’s my turn to cry (just a little).
I stood back and reflected on this wonderful gang of girls – brown hair, black hair, blond hair – originating from all parts of the world, choosing to celebrate not only eachother’s milestones (the next one is a bat mitzvah), but eachother’s cultures. Can you have a more international birthday than that? Shouldn’t kids like this be our ambassadors? And to that end! हैप्पी वेलेंटाइन दिन, Happy Valentine’s Day, Feliz día de San Valentín, Joyeuse Saint-Valentin, Happy Valentinstag and so on!!!!