Although my birthday celebrations have varied from year to year, I could always count on one tradition, tried and true, as faithful as turkey on Thanksgiving and ham on Easter:
Carnahan Family Birthdays.
When I was growing up, my extended family (on my mom's side) got together every other month to celebrate the birthdays of every aunt, uncle and cousin who had turned a year older. Without fail.
All the Carnahan granchildren can tell you countless memories of those Family Birthdays.
I loved them. Those gatherings have only recently changed, since branches of our family tree have spread their roots into different parts of the country. But even now, I can list off the months of the year and which family member's birthday falls where. Very important. Call it a family value.
At these events, I learned how to be a hostess, how to confidently entertain a houseful of guests with great comfort and class. My mom and I are a seamless hostessing team, because I learned from her and I know her every signal.
Any time a guest is in my home, you can be sure that I am practicing the polished skills I learned by hosting, watching, serving and attending every holiday and family birthday party, year after year.
And although I'll probably never have the privilege of hosting that whole crowd in my home in Colorado, I know that any home we ever live in will need the capacity to hold them all.
Because every Carnahan girl can throw a party. It's what Carnahan girls do.
Thank you, Grams, Mom, Aunt Janet, and Aunt Joyce. We all love you for it.
And thank you for more birthday candles than I can count.