Remember the Time….It Was My Birthday?

Most people’s 21st birthday has something to do with alcohol and drinking, and possibly spending the next day miserably hung over. As soon as you’re old enough, go for it, right?

At the time, I didn’t (and didn’t really want to) drink at all. I was apathetic about doing something special for my 21st birthday – being 21 was reward enough in my opinion. So I decided to let my mom run with it. She wanted to do something where my little cousins could come have fun, as well as the adults. The venue would be John’s Incredible Pizza. I was a little worried about the general age range of birthday parties, but went with the flow.

You can imagine that most of the normal birthday-boys and girls were at least 10-12 years younger than I was. It was apparent on the faces of the staff when they came into the room expecting a pink-garbed little girl and nervously said, “Well I guess you probably don’t want to wear the party hat?”

The room was decorated the way you’d imagine a kids’ birthday party would be, and my family sat around the tables and ate our pizza and cake and ice cream, then went out into the arcade. This is where the party went from kind of awkward to immensely fun.

My little cousins Catie, Elijah, and Jeremiah were just at the age where they could enjoy the arcade games and bumper cars with a huge amount of blissful joy. The best part was probably the bumper cars – all of us grabbed our own round, rubbery-sided cars and drove around bumping each other with mad glee. We waited in line to go on multiple times with the whole family, and had a blast.

I’ve always enjoyed visiting the arcade – playing Dance Dance Revolution, SkeeBall, and some of the more chance-oriented games where you have to hit the button at the exact time to get the amount of tickets necessary to pluck that giant stuffed animal down from the shelf. Even now, if you offer me a stuffed Pikachu for prize tickets, I’m probably going to try my luck at getting enough tickets for it. Playing DDR with a group of family members cheering you on (or even joining you) is enough to make your cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing so much.

Although at the time I felt a bit awkward about having my 21st birthday at a place for little kids (and the staff certainly didn’t help) it’s a fond memory now, even just a few years later. I’m glad that I was able to spend the time around my family, having fun doing an activity we don’t normally do together, and just having a blast being silly or bumping each other in big, rubber-sided cars.


This post is for the Remember the Time Blog Hop hosted by Emily at The Waiting.


9 thoughts on “Remember the Time….It Was My Birthday?

  1. Charleen says:

    This is awesome. I didn’t go quite that route for my 21st, but didn’t have a drinking party either. The restaurant we went to wouldn’t even let me have a drink with dinner because I hadn’t renewed my drivers license yet, so it still said “UNDER 21” in big bold letters… and apparently Illinois (or at least my county) has weird laws that mean unless you get your new license that day, no drinks for you.

    Yeah, ten years later and I’m still bitter about that.

    (Ten years… whoa…)


    • Samantha says:

      I’m happy with the way it turned out, for sure. πŸ™‚

      I’ve heard of that happening here in California, too. The funny thing is people still check my ID pretty closely, even though I don’t have the red band that says “under 21” and I still have the old style license. Anyone who isn’t 21 would have the new-style license (which also has under 21 people with the photo on the opposite side). I don’t mind it at all, it’s just kind of funny to me.


      • Charleen says:

        I have an Iowa license now but I still spend a fair amount of time in Illinois, much of which involves going out with friends. So it always throws the Illinois people when I hand them my out-of-state license. For some reason it takes them forever to find the date.

        Though I’m finally reaching the point where I’m not carded every time.


  2. The Waiting says:

    I went on a date years ago in college where the guy decided to take me to one of those arcade pizza places, and I was completely ambivalent about it at first and thought that we would be the only people over the age of 16 there. But you are right! Such a great time! Glad to see that not everyone runs out and gets plastered for their 21st.


    • Samantha says:

      It really reminds me why places like Dave&Buster’s exist. A friend of mine had his birthday there, and the five of us had a blast playing games to win tickets for him to buy things from the shop. They also had a four-person Pac-Man game that was probably the best part of the night. πŸ™‚


  3. Amber via Amused says:

    Happy belated birthday! Mine was spent in a smokey casino with a guy that I didn’t know too well. We had just started dating, and I didn’t even know how to order a drink from the bar. Then later I bought my own birthday cake, who every one happened to be allergic to, except me. LOL

    Sometimes things like “milestone” birthdays can be overrated. But, yours does sound pretty cute πŸ™‚ Can’t really go wrong with pizza, right? Even if you are sharing the table with kiddos.The arcade sounds awesome.


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