Now that you know how lucky I am to have wonderful friends, I need you to know that I HATE throwing parties (seems unrelated, but bear with me)--HATE--with a BURNING passion. I always buy stuff I don't use either because I forget or because my children "use" whatever it is (party hats, blowhorns, TABLECLOTHS...?!) BEFORE the day of the party. S-T-R-E-S-S. I know some moms who are SO GREAT at throwing parties and who seem to LOVE it. Nary a bead of sweat forms on their brow and they seem to even ENJOY themselves AT the party. I want to hate them because of my insane jealousy, but instead I admire them and continue to hate parties.
My friend, Tonya is the poster-person for this type of party--she is so..."together." She has three kids as well (though she does it MUCH better than I do!)--her oldest are twins--a boy and a girl--and her youngest boy is about three (maybe four or five--I don't even know how old MY kids are half the time! That's a blog for another day!) years younger, I think. When we were neighbors, my kids were always invited to their birthday parties and they were all so fun! She was always the perfect host and always had themes that complemented each other and the boys and girls got the greatest goody bags--with babies even getting age appropriate gifts. I buy goody bags and forget to give them to the kids--and I NEVER get cool or appropriate things when I DO remember. The babies end up with blow pops and the middle schoolersget A, B, C books. Tonya had everything PERFECT--right down to the last detail and she NEVER broke a sweat. I throw a party and don't breathe again UNTIL IT'S OVER. It's utter chaos, and the WORST part is I'm always running around like a lunatic with my hair wet from the shower I barely took (or the sweat that inevitably encompasses my body) as guests are arriving and I usually end up with some disaster like no cake, a missing child or forty two-year-olds running around and screaming like crazy people--SOME disaster or another to set me into sweaty mess mode. It can be fifty degrees below zero and I will have sweat POURING out of me like someone attacked me with a bucket of water. Did you ever see Ben Stiller's reaction--to Thai food I think--in Along Came Polly? I make him look calm, cool and collected. Especially "cool."
The worst part of the party for ME is the opening of the presents. ALL of the children want to open the presents AT THE SAME TIME and there is yelling and fighting (not just from me!), tissue paper and gift bags are thrown about like Jiffy Pop (I get it--you are all too young to know Jiffy Pop--let's just say they throw everything up in the air. I need to work on getting better metaphors aimed at my younger audience--noted) and I never know WHO gave WHAT gift making the thank you cards that I NEVER send that much more difficult to do. I'm getting stressed out just THINKING about it.
For Brayden's second birthday (WHY I would go to so much trouble for a two-year-old birthday is BEYOND me--those of you who do not have parties until your kids are in school are BRILLIANT! Once you start, you can't go back and with THREE...ugghhh!), I invited WAY TOO MANY kids and their parents all came as well. I was a wreck! Worrying about fifty people and activities to do with toddlers and other kids (aged 1-10) almost gave me a breakdown. LUCKILY, my college roommate and dear friend, Kate came down to help to see me through it. I felt like those of you who are lucky enough to hire a party planner or who were able to have a wedding planner--SHE worried about the organization and fun keeping the Niagara Falls of sweat at bay. I was still kind of stressed--but she made it SO MUCH BETTER! I don't think I mentioned how CRANKY I get when I entertain...cranky is really too nice. I am SUCH a B%#@! when I throw a party. I don't know WHAT happens to me. Not just because of the sweat (which really doesn't help with the crankiness), but ANYTHING can set me off for NO reason. My husband is usually the object of my rage, but when Kate comes she runs interference--and knows how to handle me (and my RIDICULOUS behavior). Unfortunately, she moved to Scotland and we moved to Montana--where I missed my middle daughter's birthday (in July) completely (I didn't actually MISS her birthday--I just didn't give her a party--which was noted by her brother, making her dwell on it more than she usually would. Brothers are great like that, aren't they?!). I finally decided to have her party in October and I told her I did it on purpose so that she could have a Halloween birthday party. Not the first time I lied to her (that DAY) and not the last. The number of lies I tell my children each day is a source for ANOTHER blog post. Or a book...
SO...my youngest daughter turned five in November (YIKES!) and I realized I had to give her a party--mostly because she kept reminding me and on the day of her birthday she cried and told me, "...you wroooined my bewerwfday because you won't let me have a pawewerty," (she was REALLY tired!) because her siblings (again--GREAT helpers with this!) told her that she would have a party on her birthday. Nevermind that we celebrated with friends over the weekend (her birthday was on a Monday) I brought a cake into preschool and we were taking her to a fun restaurant for dinner...she thought she would have a huge party at home. NICE. I tried explaining to her, but again--she was EXHAUSTED (and a bit of a brat, I hate to admit about my baby). Of course, AFTER the fun night, she could NOT stop thanking us and smiling, so there's THAT. ANYWAY...when I spoke with "Aunt" Kate about the dread I felt simply ANTICIPATING the party that was not planned, she offered to save the day again. LOVE her!
Here's the problem: Kate came and truly saved the day, but I was a BEAST. Really. I was SOOOOO awful to her--and to EVERYONE. I told you I am horrible, but I was even WORSE this time. And if she hadn't come it would have been DISASTROUS! The thing is, Kate knew not to take anything personally. This is why men and women have such a problem in relationships. Everything I said and did to Kate would have sent my husband to an attorney, but Kate just nodded and smiled or walked away while I did whatever it was I was doing to sabbotage her efforts to make the party stress-free. When the last person left at 4:30, we all exhaled and I felt really good about how it went. Kate decided to give her son a bath (which turned into ALL children getting in their suits and into the tub. How fun for her, right? It gets worse. Before she came down, the doorbell rang. One of Addison's friends from school had lost the invitation and thought the party STARTED at 4. It was 5:20, so they thought they made it for the last hour of the party. As we chatted with the mother and cousin, Addison played with her friend and Kate and her husband watched television with their son in the other room. WORST. FRIEND. EVER. I couldn't even MAKE it stop! I finally told the mom that we needed to get dinner, but by then it was too late--everyone was tired and hungry and...TIRED. SO RUDE--I KNOW--I just didn't know what to say to the friends mom. Oh well--lesson learned I guess!
So the general theme here is that I have great friends who make it possible for me to do things I most likely would not do without their help. And I still hate parties. My son's birthday is in January and I'm already wondering if we can bribe him into skipping the party. I'm pretty sure I've maxed out my party-planning pleas with Kate and even if I didn't, I SHOULD have, so I'm going to try some breathing exercises (you know--the ones that are COMPLETELY USELESS during childbirth?) and try to count to ten when I feel stressed. I'm pretty sure I will get to google (yes, google...my son informed me when he was four that google is the highest number and that I don't know ANYTHING if I think it's infinity...THIS is the person I am worried about throwing a party for? REALLY?!) SEVERAL times, but we shall see. UNLESS Tonya is reading this and wants to be my next