Flashback: My tshirt-themed birthday party (1983)

Yesterday was my birthday. I did not have a party with a theme, or even a cake. I’m on vacation in Mexico, however, and that’s exactly what I want to be doing on my big day.

Now let’s rewind 29 years.

My mom always threw creative birthday parties for me. I believe this tshirt birthday party is my first double digit birthday, the big ONE-ZERO. I am in the front row, rocking the Dorothy Hamill haircut.

Each child got a blank tshirt to decorate. We sat around a huge dining room table which was covered in fabric markers, glue and googly eyes.

Jonathan Sheldon, the boy in the top row, was one of my best friends for years. Seeing this picture of him in his robot pose delights me, as does the message on his shirt, “Watch Out I’M JON”. Seriously I should send him a shirt to wear now that says that. {Where is he now? Musician in L.A. band American Bloomers.}

My cousin Xan (front row) gets my award for most creative shirt. I love the way she used up the space. Why yes, she did grow up to graduate from art school. {Where is she now? Bartending, breadmaking, and raising two kids with her wife in San Francisco, CA.}

Jessica Elliot, another longtime bestie, is the left-most kid in the front row, and she’s holding out her arms so you can see the rainclouds that she designed to make some kind of perspiration joke. Silly girl! {Where is she now? Well-established jewelery designer and mother to one lovely little girl. See how she turned her tshirt into a dress? I knew Jess would have a future in accessories!}

The tshirt party details:

Guests were instructed, via an invitation shaped like a tshirt, to come in their favorite tshirt. I know mine was really rainbow-y, the universal obsession of 10-year old girls in the 80s.

The cake was a giant chocolate chip cookie cut into the shape of a tshirt. (Cheap and easy!)

Everyone decorated and took home their tshirt. Activity? Check! Party favor? Check!

From the other pictures, it looks like lunch was DIY tacos with store-bought taco shells, and bowls of various fillings. Funny, I do pretty much the same thing for many of the birthday parties I throw — but with regular tortillas.

Wasn’t my mom the coolest?

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.