It was a great night, replete with remembrances, surprises and the requisite number of hugs and kisses. My dad was tickled pink. He pulled me aside afterwards and said, "You did a nice job pulling this together. Did you know this was my very first birthday party?" I was stunned. I distinctly remembered giving him gifts over the years, but figured he must have been given a party by his parents at some point in his life. Not so.
In fact, a more in-depth discussion revealed that my dad was the only one of his five siblings to have not been given a birthday party in his youth. As the middle child, he'd been consistently overlooked by his parents. I felt really bad for him. But, the story got worse. When he was 12, my dad's parents 'forgot' to give him a Christmas present! He sat around the tree that long-ago Christmas morning and watched speechlessly as his brothers and sister unwrapped their presents and shrieked with joy. Can you imagine? I asked him why he hadn't spoken up. He said he was too embarrassed. Plus, as he put it: 'In those days, children were seen and not heard.'
I'm really glad my brothers, uncle and aunt had an opportunity to right 89 wrongs. As for my grandparents, shame on them.