Last week, I was on the phone with my friend Trish.
"Hey, your birthday's coming up! What are you planning on doing?"
"Oh, nothing much," she replied. "Just a family dinner thing. We'll probably go to Benihana."
"That sounds like fun! Can we come along and celebrate with you?"
And that's how you know you've got a good friend: you can totally crash her family birthday party at Benihana and she doesn't even bat an eye.
So Saturday evening, Marcus, Alex and I met Trish, her husband Carl, and their kids at Benihana. I hadn't been to Benihana since ... well, since I was about Alex's age, actually. For those who aren't familiar with it, it's a restaurant chain that specializes in teppanyaki -- Japanese cuisine that is cooked on a hot metal sheet right in front of you. While it's certainly not the first restaurant that would come to mind if you asked where the most authentic Japanese food is in Houston, the food is admittedly tasty.
"So," I asked Trish as we settled in, "what made you choose Benihana?"
"We came here last year on my birthday, and the kids loved watching the chef. Besides, it's festive!"
I smiled. "I forgot how into birthdays you are."
"Oh, I love birthdays," said Trish. "I especially love celebrating other people's birthdays. They're important."
"Yes!" she said. "I mean, think about it: a birthday -- the day that someone you love entered this world? That's huge! That's way bigger than Valentine's Day, or Mother's Day, or even the Fourth of July. Birthdays of people you love should be the most important celebrations that you have every year, I think."
I so love this concept. I mean, of course we have parties for Alex every year, and I do make a cake for Marcus on his birthday, and of course there are gifts, but to be honest, I'd never really looked at birthdays with this sort of importance before: that even more than their birthdays being something they celebrate, they should be something I celebrate. I'm not sure why I never thought about it this way before, but it totally makes sense, right?
Anyway, as expected any time we get together with our friends, we had a wonderful time, and loved celebrating Trish. And Trish was right: the kids totally loved the teppanyaki show.