Birthday Aboard

Graysen wakes up early on his birthday, excited about his special day. The sunrise is gorgeous, as if announcing that this is indeed an important day. He wears his birthday crown and have his favorite breakfast, french toast.


Graysen wants seafood for his birthday dinner, but it is Sunday and the fisherman’s co-op in Placencia is closed. It was closed when we tried to go yesterday as well. Graysen and Matt wander around town trying to find something. A guy fishing from shore tells them he just stubbed his toe on a conch, and he fishes it out of the water for them and gives it to them. Could it really be that easy?

They go back to the co-op and ask some guys hanging around there if it will open later. “It’s my son’s birthday and he really wants some seafood.”

“Your birthday! Then you should have some seafood!” One of them goes into the coop and comes back with a bag of crab. Giving it to Grayen, he says, “Happy Birthday!”



The conch is a bit leathery, but the crab is delicious, served with butter and mushroom rice and a salad. I bring out some candles for the table and Matt and I share a bottle of wine. After dinner we have the chocolate coconut cake that Rylan and I made, complete with an S for superman on top. Then he opens his few presents, some that my mom sent to us in Cleveland as well as a new toy bow and arrow that Matt found in town and a small multi-tool.


Birthdays on the boat are simple because they have to be, but I have to say I prefer them that way. I imagine a normal 5-year-old’s birthday in the States. Cute invitations must be sent ahead of time, snacks purchased, and place decorated. Then you have a bunch of kids running around the house hyped up on sugar. A huge cake, a bunch of presents that aren’t needed, and this new custom of sending all the guests home with a bag of trinkets.

A friend of mine told me once that she went all out on her kid’s birthdays in the beginning and couldn’t really scale back. Each birthday had to be at least as good as the last. I know that her kid’s birthday parties were really cool, but I’m not sure if Im up for orchestrating such a production.

I love our simple, family centered birthdays. To me, they focus on what is really important, celebrating the birthday boy.



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