Capturing the Wish: When Visions of Happy Things Swirled in our Heads

When I was growing up, birthdays were always festive.

birthday laughter collage_opt

 Check out the wrapping paper–the comics!


My mom usually made an ice cream cake, and decorated the birthday girl’s/boy’s bedroom doorway with streamers. Sometimes we celebrated at the dining room table with the “fancy” blue china.

And we took photos like this:

 Patrick blowing birthday candle Collage_opt

Capturing the Wish


Looking at these pictures, I realized we captured the secret wish moment.

A wish (or two), a deep breath, and then hopes are launched…

Easy Bake Ovens, ponies, unrequited crushes turning requited,

love, health, and peace…

Our heart’s desires

some found

others suspended, floating in a moment

where visions of happy things swirled in our heads.

birthday candle blow Collage_opt

And the tradition continues…


What are your birthday traditions? Have you ever wrapped a gift with the comics?

Happy Monday!





* This post is dedicated to my daughter who turns 228 months this week.  🙂






38 thoughts on “Capturing the Wish: When Visions of Happy Things Swirled in our Heads

    1. It’s interesting to me how tradition becomes more important the older I get. I’m not sure I clung to it so much when i was a kid, at least not that I remember. I’m glad for it now. Thanks, Joanna. 🙂


  1. Great pics! We do birthdays up big in our family. It’s always a chance for a family gathering — there are a lot of us — and we all love a night of frivolity and libations. 🙂 One thing we did for about a year is the birthday person (or persons as we sometimes have to combine) would choose a color and we’d all wear that color. We would then take a large group picture. It was pretty cool because now we have all these coordinated family photographs.


  2. Love those birthday pictures, Coleen! You’re right. They capture the secret wish moment. I still get a kick out of making a wish and blowing out birthday candles. I also love singing Happy Birthday off-tune to others.

    Happy Birthday to your daughter!


  3. Happy Birthday to your daughter, Coleen! Those pictures are fabulous (and could be replaced with mine, including the comics wrapping paper!). I loved birthdays when I was a kid. They were simple affairs, but special. I used to do a huge party each year for the kids, but they decided that ten was the magical age to stop having big to-dos. I miss those parties. I would theme them and make the whole house like the party theme. Now, it’s a simple thing, which isn’t a bad thing. Aw, you’re making me nostalgic for the good old days, but I’m not sure which ones! Mine, or the kids… 😉


  4. Happy Birthday to your daughter! Yes, we used to wrap our gifts in comics, haha. Now I just throw gifts in a lovely gift bag with some pretty tissue paper and I’m ready to go. 🙂


  5. Fun post, as always, Coleen! My family always had birthday gift hunts. The whole family, other than the birthday person, wrote clues then hid gifts all around the house. The pursuit was often at least, if not more fun, than the actual presents.


  6. Your birthday photos look very similar to my family’s! Only you are a much better photographer than me. 🙂 Many of our presents were wrapped in the Sunday comics when I was a kid, and I’ve done a few of those myself back when I still got the paper. Why spend all that money on wrapping paper? 😀


  7. What a lovely birthday post. Such great photos. I like intimate family birthdays, over big parties. And, I didn’t like cake and always demanded a strawberry rhubarb pie. Wishing your daughter a happy birthday!


  8. I love the pictures and thinking about captured wishes. Happy birthday to your daughter. (I wasn’t brave enough to try the math). Traditions? Well, growing up with my twin we had small birthdays – cake (beautifully decorated by a neighbor), friends and maybe potato chips. Kool Aid (I’m pretty sure). Since I had a twin, it was always a single birthday with double the fun. Now, my son’s birthday is one day before mine, so I get cake two days in a row!


    1. Cake two days in a row? Now that’s a celebration! I love that you said you had double the fun, even though you shared a bday. I imagine that must be a special twin thing, because I’m wondering if it would work the same way with non twin siblings sharing the same birthday!


  9. Happy Birthday to your daughter! Fun family pictures. We always had a cake, sang Happy Birthday, and blew out the candles. My Italian grandmother always re-lit one candle for good luck and long life and we let it burn till the end.


  10. Many happy returns to your daughter, and may her dreams come true! (I’m hazy on the Math, but it spells forever young to me 😉 ). Birthdays growing up were a small, family affair. Lots of gap tooth pictures, with home baked cakes sprinkled in hundreds & thousands, as I recall… 🙂


  11. Happy birthday to your beautiful daughter. I never celebrated birthdays (or holidays) until I was an adult and living in my own house so there were no traditions. I do enjoy getting cards though, especially in the mail, not the FB wishes or e-mail cards, I like the real honest to goodness cards in the colorful envelopes from – gasp – a store and that arrive in my mailbox. So I’ve sort of started that tradition.

    As always, a very thought provoking post.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


    1. I was always a big pen pal type of person, loved going to the stationary store to pick out paper. Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of interest in people wanting to send each other snail mail (as a novelty thing). Sounds good to me!


  12. I love this tribute to your daughter–and counting it out in months made me smile. My aunt always wrapped our presents in comics as a kid. I could always pick out her gifts and thought they were the best. Very nostalgic.


  13. What a beautiful thought! I wonder if anyone has actually captured the wish photographically – perhaps a little glittery ball of light floating away? I adore how I could pull out my birthday pictures from the 80s and find nearly exact replicas of yours. Happy birthday to your baby 🙂


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