First of all, I’ve survived. Obviously. And they came. The party was a grand success. Which is to say, no one said they were bored, there was no blood, and there were no tears. The guru came through in an amazing way. I just kept pulling things out of the box she mailed me until the kids’ parents came and retrieved their little darlings. I may have kept one of the party favors for myself. BECAUSE it’s adorable. And my son had such a good time at his sister’s party he wanted to make sure that our trip to Disney wouldn’t interfere with his at home party. If that isn’t a true sentiment that he had a good time, I don’t know what is.
Now that the party is over and I know it went well, I can look back on it fondly. But just before the party I was, perhaps, a touch off my rocker. It did not help that one of the children we invited called me up at work to inquire what “kind” of party my daughter was having. “It’s an owl party.” “But what will we be doing?” “Owl things.” “Well, because, I’m trying to decide between two parties which to go to.” Umm, the other one.
I actually thought someone was messing with me. She wasn’t, though, and she came and she was very polite. Still, I asked my daughter how one should decide between two parties. My sweet little angel said, “whoever is your closest friend, you should go to her party.” And in that instant, I was the best mother in the whole world.
Success can be ephemeral in mothering, so we need to recognize these moments when they happen. Really, we need to latch on to them and bring them up in our mind’s eye when that same angel is standing in front of you with her arms crossed, her eyes rolling up into her head, and she’s singsonging, “whatever” at you.
No really, you think, that’s not my child. My child is the one who knows that friendship is going to the at home party because even if your best friend’s mom can’t afford to bring in ponies or air bounces, your best friend will be there and it doesn’t matter what you are doing; it matters who you are with. So you don’t smack her in the face. You send her to her room and know deep down, she’s better than that. And you earn yourself another mothering gold star for not freaking the hell out on the little witch. No one said this nonsense was easy. Or consistent.
After her party I was ready to pay closer attention to how other moms handled an at home party and luckily we had an immediate invite from a good friend. Back to the bookstore we went for a gift. Only this time I was determined to actually pick out a book. Because I’m an idiot. So I took all three kids back to the kids’ section with the god forsaken trains. Mistake number one. I had forgotten my stroller at home so I decided to see if my toddler had improved in dealing with the Thomas the Train section without the inevitable freak out. Big mistake number two. And instead of watching said child like a hawk, I milled around the closeby racks. Final mistake.
“Mom! What. Is. That?” “What is what?” “THAT?” “What are you — oh my god are you kidding me? Get some paper towels from the bathroom. Hurry.” Yup, there was a toddler turd lying on the floor next to the train table. This is my nightmare. Fortunately, while the universe has a sense of humor, it isn’t always cruel; and no one caught us. I was able to casually scoop the item in question off the floor with a Target flyer from my purse and into the trash can beside the help desk before anyone saw. Eventually, my daughter came running back with ONE paper towel which I used to wipe up my son’s legs. “Ok, we’re getting a gift card. Let’s go.” Tears. Protest. Child with poopy pants. Scene. Always a scene.
That party also ended up being completely lovely. The mom happens to have a pool and a play set, though, so she had a decided advantage on how to entertain multiple children. Regardless, having an at home party takes a certain level of chutzpah, I’ve realized, and I’m proud of myself and anyone else who is brave enough to have one. Oh, and the gifts from my kids, until future notice, will be gift cards.
I like to throw things.