I was lucky to get birthday parties throughout my childhood and to still have pictures of each year of my life. That’s why many of the memories and images of my early years revolve around my party. Today, I want to share the story of my 6th birthday party and why it was my favorite and the most memorable one of my childhood.
While I think that once you are 6 years old you are truly more aware and able to remember many things, memory tends to be elusive, at least in my case, and focuses on particular events that it favors to keep over others. Also, some memories come and go and can be trigger by certain things, the one about my 6th birthday party is one of those memories that have always been there, maybe because I have several pictures or maybe because it really meant a lot.
It was 1983 and I must say that year had the most amazing soundtrack of merengues, something that can be said for many of the years in the 80s decade. It seemed to be a golden era, the 80s for music everywhere, and merengue music wasn’t the exception. Many of those merengues were played and we danced at my 6th birthday party, and yes, it is customary for everyone to dance at parties in the Dominican Republic, including little kids.
Why was my 6th birthday party remarkable? Well, this was the only party I had over at my mother’s. Even though I used to have a birthday party every year up until then, it was special for me to have this with my mother, since it had been two years since she moved out from our home.
Looking back, I think what has made it more special is that it was the last birthday party I had until my teens, as the following years I would get cake and would go out with my daddy, to the movies, to eat pizza, or something like that. The main reason was because my mother not only organized my 6th birthday party, she was also the person behind each party I had before that; once she wasn’t home those events stopped.
My mom talked to one of the neighbors in the where I was born; she had just moved back to live with her mother who had been ill. Going back to my 6th birthday party, the neighbor let us use her roof to host the party, which I thought was very cool.
My 6th birthday party represented the year of freedom; freedom from my grandma style of celebrating me. When the parties were in my house, I was made to change outfits at least 3 times. This year I had to wear just one dress that I loved, and that “fancy” headpiece you see in the picture, made of plastic bags. I felt like a princess.
It is important to note that with the same fervor that I loved having a party in which I only wore one dress, my grandma, mamá Amparo, hated that fact. She will say so every time she saw the pictures “un solo vestidito”; something that makes me smile now as I type these words thinking of her and how much of her I have in me.
This is the party for which I have more pictures saved, which is probably the reason the memories are so clear. Also, I was a 6 year old girl who didn’t live with her mom and longing for her, knowing she cared for me and having her attention was very important for me. The party, the friends, the dancing, and the cake were awesome. Having my mother’s love, was everything.
Let's embrace diversity and create social change! © Dania Santana ~ Embracing Diversity
Multiculturalism, Diversity & Inclusion Expert | Author | Speaker