Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, and the following day, my boyfriend’s birthday. I went to buy a card for each occasion, and found one that was for people whose birthdays were actually on the 14th.
I was intrigued by the story possibilities. There was a situation that presented a natural conflict – a birthday being eclipsed by a general holiday, but something I hadn’t seen used in story I knew of.
I set to work to see if this idea had “legs.” I created a rough sketch of a coming of age story about a teenaged boy getting his estranged parents to reunite by inviting them both to his “birthday” party – which was actually a romantic dinner made for the two of them. It would work equally well if the protagonist was female.
I like to enhance my ideas by looking in the world of nonfiction, and so researched news stories about children who had birthdays on Valentine’s Day.
I researched various sites, and came up with several possibilities, but really appreciated finding this one which I respectfully share below:
It’s A Boy…. It’s A Valentines baby boy! My son was born at the most romantic day of the year, the day that is filled with love, chocolate, roses, balloons…. and for us a baby boy. Our little ball of joy was not due until February 16th, but I guess he did not want to wait a few more days. He wanted out on Friday the 13th.Friday the 13th that is…eekkk!!…But, for our Italian family that was not such a bad thing. You see Italians believe the number 13 is lucky; however for us it appears the number 14 was the lucky number.
Throughout my pregnancy my family and friends joked how he was going to be born on Valentines Day…I would just laugh it off. There was no way I was going to have a Valentines Day baby, I mean come on our first child was born the day after Christmas. What were the odds I would have another holiday baby…right! Holiday birthdays can be a huge pain in the neck! You have to try your best to make sure the actual holiday does not cause any issues with the birthday.
Here are some pointers I have learned over the years…how to celebrate Valentines Day and my sons birthday on the same day.
1. Do not wrap the gifts in Valentines Day paper.
2. Make sure you do not purchase a Happy Valentines Day and it’s your Birthday card. Trust me when I tell you the birthday boy/girl will look at you with a very dirty face.
3. Have the actual party (with friends) before their actual birthday. Many people take Valentines Day serious and do not want to attend a kiddos party on the day of Love.
4. It’s ok to order pizza on this day and make sure it’s a heart…have the store spell out Happy B-Day in pepperoni. We did this last year and my son thought we were the coolest parents ever!
5. Make sure the cake does not have any red or pink on it…unless it’s the birthday kiddos favorite colors…. This is mostly for boys, my son as never asked for a pink birthday cake…but hey you never know he is only going to be 11 this year.
6. Plan…Plan. Plan! Plan this party in advance or you will be stuck with no party guests! (This is for people who take Valentines Day serious and do not want to spend it at a kiddos birthday party.)
7. Make the party fun and make sure the place you choose has nothing to do with Valentines Day. For example this year we are doing an indoor paintball party…that’s as far away from “Love Day” as you can get. Unless you are going for a Love Theme.
8. Make sure you make your birthday kiddo a HUGE breakfast. When he was little I would make him pancakes in the shapes of hearts…he loved it! But not so much anymore, he wants round pancakes…LOL…Boys!
9. Sometimes you have to embrace the built-in theme….If your child loves the fact they are born on Valentines Day, then embrace it! Use this to your advantage and incorporate the holiday while making it all about the birthday child.
10. You can always half-birthday it. As your child grows, you may want to consider having the party in the summer…. I mean how cool would a pool party be for a child that was born in winter?…Awesome!!!
The bottom-line is when it comes to holiday birthday celebrations, no one solution is perfect for everyone. Some kiddos resist celebrating on any day but their actual birthday, while some enjoy having a day that doesn’t involve the holiday. It may take a few years to get it right or the answer may come easily. It’s a tough time to have a birthday, but it’s a magical time, too.
To recap, to find original story ideas, look for unexplored real life events, make a up a situation and use a few “real life” details to flesh out the story.
Here’s to your successful writing,
Professor Marilyn Horowitz