Birthday parties are a fact of life. They are fewer are farther between now that we’ve entered the mysterious world of tweens, but they still occur with predictable regularity. Gone, however, are the days when we parents had to accompany our kids to these shindigs, inevitably at an indoor venue at 2:00 on a beautiful weekend afternoon. We’d stand around and make small talk with other parents while our children careened in and out of frightening human habitrails. We broke up fights, we wiped noses and faces and butts, we endured. We took our turns hosting the parties, coaching our kids about how to politely unwrap a crappy present (make eye contact, say thank you, we’ll exchange it later), making the cakes, paying the bills.
So parents don’t hang out at birthday parties after our kids reach a certain age. Suddenly the invitations contain drop off and pick up times, and we enter a secret solidarity with the parents of our children’s friends, an unspoken understanding that each of our times will come, and we’ll try to make it as easy as possible on each other. Those are good years.
But then, our kids have the nerve to develop friendships outside our family’s social circle. Of course we encourage diversity and community and blah blah blahdy dah, but this creates a dangerous situation in which there is no solidarity among us parents. We can’t call bullshit when someone brings home a hideous invitation.
Last weekend – MeMORial day weekend - my girl was invited to a party that was far away, at a mall, from 5-8 on a Saturday. That’s three strikes. Bullshit! But they don’t call me mother of the year for nothing. Of course I said she could go. I figured I’d find a carpool for at least one leg of the journey. When that attempt fell through, I resigned myself to the fact that I’d have to kill a few hours at the mall. I
forced bribed a couple of teenage boys to join me, I had
credit cards and a book, how bad could it possibly be?
It. Was. Not. Good. I honestly did not realize that there were malls out here that didn’t boast sunny palm lined walkways in between the retail establishments. It was one of those building malls where you walked in and were instantly deprived of all measurable oxygen. It made my eyes sag in there. No likee. It was a long three hours. I walked about 80 miles and had dinner with the boys and did manage to find a few
Eventually, eternally, finally, it was time to fetch the girl and run for the hills. I just had to pop in to the BabyVegas pizza place and grab her up and we’d be on her way.
Okyeah almostready wehavefivemoretokens ipromisedtosharetheprizecrap ijustneedtocashinthese986tickets andohmygodmom ihavetocashthesein ididallthatfornothing itsnotfairfiveminutesiPROMISE
30 minutes later. Strike four.