When I was a kid, birthday parties were simple. My mom made a cake, scotched taped “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” to the wall, and called it a day. Granted, I grew up in a very small town. There was no stop light, no movie theater, no jump house, no community pool, no Chuck E Cheese, no bowling alley, no anything really.
There weren’t any gift bags for party goers either. I mean, seriously? It’s not your birthday. Why would you get a gift?
Times have changed folks. If I threw a party in my own home (gasp!), and planned as the only organized activity, “Pin the Tail on the Donkey,” my children would be the butt of everyone’s joke at school and I would be labeled as, “That mom.” The mom who either doesn’t care enough to throw her child a proper birthday party, or the mom everyone feels sorry for because, “Ooooh, maybe she can’t afford it???”
Fuck the whole paradigm shift and everyone else who has hopped on the band wagon (including myself)! Peer pressure is a bitch and I am a sucker for it every single time.
Case in point. Today my husband and I took nine girls to the Roller Garden. I drained our savings account and pulled the trigger on a real party. It was fine. My daughter had fun, so I guess it was worth me not being able to buy a new pair of designer jeans for another year. I much prefer sweat pants anyway.
For me personally, the commute to and from the party was worth far more than a new pair of jeans. I had five 9 year old girls in the van bantering back and forth with absolutely no awareness that there was a responsible adult present. I almost felt guilty and wanted to interrupt, “Hi girls, I’m here. How’s it going back there? This minivan is pretty sweet, huh?”
I am not an idiot though, so I sat silent, appeared aloof, and soaked it all in like any well trained chauffer would do.
“My Dad drinks beer every night.”
“Oh yeah! My Dad drinks 10 Budweisers EVERY single night!” (He’s from Wisconsin. Enough said.)
“Well, my Dad drank so much once that he puked!”
“My Dad is so hairy…everywhere!”
What? (Awkward silence)
My daughter (God bless her) did not contribute to the conversation, either because she knew better (don’t bite the hand that feeds you), or because intuition suggested that it might not be a good idea at this exact moment in time to participate in such a conversation. The way I see it, I came out a winner either way, regardless of the reasoning.
As the perfect parent, I am torn. Do I intervene and come to the defense of these poor children who are clearly being reared by parents who indulge in way too much alcohol on a regular basis, to the point that their children use it as bragging rights in a disgusting civilized feud with their friends?
Do I call my dear dear friend and tell her that her Budweiser drinking husband was just thrown under the bus by his malicious and deceptive daughter?
I lived in Wisconsin once. Drink or be drunk (both are preferred).
I miss it. Those people really understood me.
God Bless Wisconsin!