For several years, my birthday parties revolved around the pool. There were water balloons and hot dogs. Boys from school. Cannonballs, chips, and chicken fights. And of course, cake.
When I was even younger, I remember Carvel ice cream cakes, which were all I ever wanted in cake. Meli and I would scoop up as much of the so-called chocolate rock filling as we could.
I turned 25 last weekend, and we went down to Miami the previous weekend to visit my family. I’d casually floated the idea of a piñata to my mom, and she just laughed at the thought of it. But then, she surprised me with one. I walked into the house to find balloons, cake and brownies made by Meli, a birthday banner, and a piñata shaped like a cupcake. It came with the usual tail of colorful strings that lead to candy. But no.
If we were going to head into my mid-twenties with a piñata, well, we weren’t going to be dainty about it. I was blindfolded and spun around ten times. Someone handed me a large stick to bring down the birthday prize. I swung. Missed. Swung again. Missed. One more time. Then I felt the whack. Decent, but I didn’t knock it down.
Okay. Time to, you know, give the 8-year-old girl a turn. (Danny knocked it down in the end, if you were wondering). We spent the rest of the weekend filling up on nacatamales, churrasco, and crispy Colombian empanadas. My mom showed her cardshark side, and we watched Wimbledon. We spent one morning zipping around on my dad’s boat until we found a shallow spot to jump into the water. There were fireworks, too.
Not a bad way to celebrate a birthday. Not at all.
And we weren’t even done yet.
Back to that ice cream cake. Making one is on my list (later this summer?), but I took it easy on the cooking last weekend. We started with a boozy brunch at Boca and then a coffee stop at the beautiful Oxford Exchange. On the way home, we picked up a Carvel cake to share with friends that night, and I enjoyed it about as much as I did when I was a kid. Big sprinkles. Chocolate rocks. Yes.
There were birthday nachos, too, thanks to Danny. Those will have to make an appearance at birthday no. 26.
I’ve always liked having a birthday in July. Despite the heat, I enjoy summer. Everyone seems relaxed and time seems to slow down. Ice cream is a regular thing. I also tend to get reflective and nostalgic around birthdays, and halfway through the year feels like a good checkpoint after any resolutions and reflection happening in January.
Year 24 kind of felt like trying to swing at a piñata while blindfolded but never knocking it down. So far, this July has been busy. Busy with good things and good times that hint to a very good year.
Cheers to 25! I’m coming at you, swinging.