Virginia turned eleven last Tuesday and this Saturday, she’s inviting a bunch of friends over for a karaoke birthday celebration. She’s really looking forward to it. Me? Eh.
For just about every birthday, Virginia has wanted a party, and I try my darndest to feign enthusiasm. Most of the time the parties are a success—the kids arrive, they have fun, they eat cake, they go home. No grownups. I feel a kid’s birthday party should just be for kids. Give the grownups a break to run errands or see a movie. Or take a nap. I know I have a very narrow and limited view of kids’ birthday parties because personally, I don’t want to go to one that’s not my child’s. Leave me out of it. Once a year, I take one for the team and throw a party for my kid—that should be enough. The thought of accompanying Virginia to an afternoon birthday party where about a dozen kids are running around hopped up on Capri Sun and cake makes me break out in hives. When the adults are invited, the kid’s party turns into a kid’s party with gin and tonics. I’m sorry, but day drinking will not soften this situation. I’m angry I’m there and now fantasizing about all the grocery shopping I could be doing right now. And I hate grocery shopping.
Ugh, and can we just talk about the siblings for a sec? Every year, it seems one clueless parent will bring all of their kids to my daughter’s birthday party, like I’m some sort of babysitting service. This is not OK. I count on my RSVPs so I can order enough food, drinks, and party favors. I need a space that will accommodate the number of invited guests. Extra kids messes all this up. And, often I don’t know all the siblings—some are total brats. One year, one, not-invited older sibling cut in front of all the little kids in line for pizza so he could get first dibs. I wanted to punch him. And then I wanted to punch his parents. I get it. You’ve got two, three, four kids and you don’t know what to do with them. If Virginia’s birthday party is inconvenient because you don’t have an activity for the rest of your brood, bow out. It’s OK. I understand. I’d much rather a “no” R.S.V.P. than unexpected siblings who will complain loudly why they didn’t get a candy bag, but their sister did.
What’s that you say? Ah, yes. I hear you. Breathe in, breathe out. Saturday is going to come and go and before you know it, I will be a perfectly sane, relatively nice relaxed person once again. It can’t come too soon.