April Jeppson: The evolving nature of Aprilpalooza

Published 8:45 pm Friday, September 15, 2023

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

“They say it’s your birthday, bada ba bum bum!”

April Jeppson

I do this thing called Aprilpalooza. It’s a few days around my birthday where I unapologetically encourage my friends to celebrate with me. Many people have birthday parties or birthday weekends where they spread out their festivities for a few days. Most people, however, don’t give their birthday celebrations a unique name. I guess I’m not like most people.

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My mother asked me earlier this week what my plans were for Aprilpalooza. I told her that it has honestly been pretty quiet. In previous years I made it my goal to do something special on every day of my birthday week. Meet up for lunch, a park playdate, however, most of the special activities were centered around going out to eat.

I used to reach out to my friends and point blank ask them what day they were free to take me out to lunch. I made no bones about it. I had someone tell me once how lucky I was that everyone just wants to hang out with me. I said luck has nothing to do with it, I asked them to hang out with me. If you don’t ask, the answer is already no so I figured there was no harm in coming right out and asking.

Upon further reflection, I realized that Aprilpalooza was essentially born out of poverty and a desire to eat food that I otherwise couldn’t afford. I was a stay-at-home mom for many years. We lived on one income and learned how to be frugal. I became pretty skilled at cooking, but things like authentic Mexican food and sushi were beyond my culinary skill set. I will also add that one of my love languages is time. So spending quality time with my friends really does mean the world to me.

Think about it. I was the mom of the three little kids who desired to spend time with my friends and eat food that wasn’t made in my kitchen. Meeting up for a lunch or dinner date was an easy solution. Scheduling it around my birthday so that I wouldn’t have to worry about finding money seemed like a stroke of brilliance. And because I appreciate direct communication, I had no problem coming right out and asking my friends to take me to lunch. That was the beginning of Aprilpalooza.

Flash forward to this week. I’m still a mother of three, but now I have a full-time job that not only takes up a good chunk of my time, it also gives me the ability to afford going out to eat.

So instead of trying to cram an entire year’s worth of hangouts into one week, I can sprinkle them throughout the year. And a bonus for my friends, I can afford to pay for my own food now.

I did have an awesome lunch date this week, and I have a few more scheduled before the end of the month. My co-workers really knocked it out of the park as well. I could barely open up my door because there were so many balloons in my office.

So I guess Aprilpalooza is still going strong. It just looks a little different than it did 10 years ago and I’m OK with that. At its core, it was a chance to step away from everyday life and spend some time with my friends. I probably need that more than ever, and now I can foot the bill.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.