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A Tribute

April 2, 1994 –

February 14, 2013

Eitan Story

Eitan Samuel Stern-Robbins

Playing Chicken

Eitan’s birthday is April 2. Which means that sometimes the weather is gorgeous, and sometimes we’d get a snowstorm. A challenge for birthday party planning. In 1998, for his 4th birthday, about a week before the planned party date, it was gorgeous – sunny, 80 degrees. We sent out invitations. The Hancock Street playground was the perfect place for a party, and outside, so we invited his whole preschool class, plus family and other friends.

1998 birthday cupcakes

However. Thursday before the Sunday party the temperature dropped 40 degrees and it rained. This lovely weather continued into Friday, Saturday… And I had to acknowledge that an outdoor party was not going to happen. Once I had come to terms with the idea of having 15+ kids in the house (plus all their parents, because we did not do drop-off-the-kids-and-run parties when they were 4), we brainstormed indoor activities for the two-hour event. I got a big roll of butcher paper to use as a “table” – taped onto the floor, the kids could draw their own place settings (an activity that took, oh, at least 6 minutes).

1998 paper table

Somehow, we managed, and much fun was had by all, notwithstanding a flushed diaper (seriously? by a parent!), tossed cookies, pee accidents, and other mishaps. Eitan was surrounded by friends, always his favorite thing, and had a big grin on his face all day.

That night, during bath time, I noticed a spot on Eitan’s older brother Gabriel’s back. And another, and another. And realized, these were not mosquito bites. He had full-fledged chicken pox. Gabriel had been having lots of fun at the party, too. We sent a note of apology and warning to all the party attendees.

1998 birthday grin

That week, every single kid at Alef Bet Child Care who had not been immunized or already infected came down with chicken pox. Eitan himself had at least a hundred of the pox all over his little back. The teachers thanked us for making their job at the school so easy, with just a handful of kids there for many days.

Probably Eitan’s most legendary birthday party.

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It means so much to learn about who Eitan was in the world. Please email Lisë your story – can be for my eyes only, or to publish here, just let me know.

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