Sunday, August 24, 2008

The "Party"

Oy! Today was Adam’s birthday and I think I succeeded in making it the worst 5th birthday celebration ever. I hope that he will be able to strike the events of today from his memory.

Because it is the last weekend of summer (alright, it may not be the end of the summer solstice, but you get the point) all of Adam's friends are away. It really has not mattered much in past years because Adam was too young to understand birthday parties and the enormity of what they stand for.

Last week I asked Adam's camp counselor, Jack, if he would be able to come to a pizza party on today’s date to celebrate Adam turning 5. Jack answered with the enthusiasm that only a 21 year old can when asked to do something he would rather have nothing to do with. He said “Uhm, I guess.” I had to exchange phone numbers with Jack and I am telling you, it was kind of awkward.

I asked Adam’s tennis counselor Alex to come for the party too. He agreed to and I thought I ought to buy a little security with my invited guests so I slipped both Jack and Alex fifty dollar bills.

I completed my guest list by asking Gray, Adam’s 5 year old cousin to the party. So it was settled, 4 people would be here to celebrated Adam’s 5th birthday.

This morning we woke up, sang “Happy Birthday” to Adam and got the day started. I had to go get an ice cream cake and if I was a GOOD mother, I would have special ordered a cake weeks ago, but I have been focusing a lot of myself this summer, and the cake was not a priority. Now that it was the day of the party, the “party”, I knew I had to put my game face on.

I got the kids into the car and headed to Carvel… they would have an ice cream cake for sure. On the way there, I asked Adam what kind of cake he wanted. He said “Batman.” Cool.

We walked in to Carvel and over to the freezer case. No Batman cake.
I asked Adam to come up with a second choice.


No Spiderman.

Third choice?


No fucking soccer ball.
I was starting to feel really bad and after going through all the choices, we settled on the ONE sport that Carvel did have in the freezer cake. My five year old would be celebrating with a bowling ball cake. Sweet.

He was pissed, and I really could not blame him, but it was the ONLY sport themed cake in the case, and all the other cakes were either princess or Care Bear. I lifted the cake out of the case, showed it to Adam and Ellie (they both said “it sucks and is stupid.”) and I started to walk to the counter to pay. Of course I accidentally dropped the bowling ball cake top down right on to the floor, but it was still hard, so no damage done.

On the way home, I realized that I never confirmed with Jack and Alex, and knew I had better because Adam kept saying “Will my friends be here yet?” I kept thinking to myself “should I tell him that his “friends” are really paid extras that I am just lucky are around?” I chose not to, what with the whole bowling ball cake incident.

We got home and I had Adam and Ellie set up for the party. The “party.” It took no time at all to put out 4 plates and napkins.

During their lightening fast set up, I called Jack (which went in to voice mail) and reminded him to come to the party, the “party," and to be here at noon. I did not have Alex’s phone number, so I quickly looked up to the heavens and did a quick shout out to the birthday g-ds and asked them to deliver Jack and Alex on time. (Or anytime between noon and 2).

At 11:50, my nephew Gray showed up. His dad (who is an attorney and nothing gets by him) dropped Gray off. I knew that he was immediately onto my shit and could tell that he knew that I had absolutely nothing planned for this party. “Party.” So I quickly ushered my brother in law away and announced to Gray that he was the first one to arrive and therefore told him that he would win the “first to arrive” prize. He was curious about that and said good bye to his dad who I swear hand gestured a phone to Gray and mouthed “call me.”

As we watched Gray’s dad pull away, Gray asked me what the “first to arrive” prize was. I offered him a nice cold beer.

Gray and Adam went outside and started to play baseball, and happily Jack pulled in right at 12:45. I looked up and thanked the birthday g-ds. He brought a gift for Adam (a GIGANTIC water gun) and I knew that it was time to get this party started. This “party” started. The water gun contributed to 7 minutes of fun until it broke. (Thanks Jack, next time spend more than a dollar on a kids birthday gift!!!)

Then I broke the crowd in to two teams for baseball. Adam and Gray against Jack and me. The three of them though the teams were a little unbalanced, but I was in it to win it. Jack and I kicked ass.

At 1:30 I realized that I had totally forgotten to order the pizza, so I grabbed the phone and ordered. Adam's favorite pizza is spinach pizza, and that was what he requested even though it was met with a chorus of “yuck.” But Adam stood his ground and said “This is my fucking party, I am ordering spinach pizza. This day has sucked, I have no friends here and my mom never ordered me a cake, and what awaits us is a stupid fucking bowling ball cake. Now shut up and let me order my g-d dammed spinach pizza.”

Okay, maybe those were not his exact words, but I knew that's what he felt.

We continued to play baseball until the pizza arrived. Then we gathered around the table for lunch. Of course because no one else would eat the pizza, Adam refused to eat it too. I could tell that this party was going downhill fast and then I heard the words that I was dreading to hear.

“Mom, can we go in the pool???”

It was not for safety concerns that I did not want to go in to the pool. It was because I really did not want to wear a bathing suit in front of Jack. But I had to forget about my own ego and do this for Adam, so I asked Jack to watch the kids as I changed.

I ran upstairs and thought to myself 'shit, what do I do??! What would E and Drama do in this scenario?' I realized that E would just knock Jack out cold and revive him 10 minutes before the party, the “party,” ended, and I know that Drama would get Jack drunk and stoned. Then I had to quickly choose between the hot pink bathing suit that I had that was open back, or the very low cut black one that would scream “I am desperate.” I chose the hot pink one and grabbed a bottle of wine as I went back to the pool.

Jack chose a cola over the wine, but I said fuck it and poured myself a big fat glass. Jack and I got to know each other really well in the next 40 minutes. He likes sushi, likes to travel, has goals (he is returning to college), AND, I found out, likes to play tennis.

Adam came up to me at around 2 o'clock (this party, “party,” was going overtime) and asked where Alex was. I told him that Alex could not make it on account of an ice storm, and Adam did not even question it. Again, I looked to the birthday party g-ds and said 'thank you.'

Finally it was cake time, and we all gathered around the table again. I brought out the bowling ball cake and even Adam (who is no dummy) tried to feign excitement. No one ate the cake either. It was too stupid looking to eat.

When Gray's dad showed to take Gray home, he could tell that I was drunk and that the kids looked like they were waiting to get out of a detention center. Gray asked for his goody bag. Which made my head spin and my eyes pop. I was complimented that he asked for a goody bag because we all know that a goody bag means party!!!! PARTY. No quotation marks needed!

But then I realized that I had no goody bag and ran in to the house to fill a brown paper bag with dried pasta noodles and beans. I even threw in a few dried out markers and broken crayons. And just for a goof, I threw in a $20 bill. I gave Gray the bag and told him he had to search for the prize. I knew that he would roll down the window of the car and throw the whole thing out. I just hoped he would find the money first.

Anyway, Jack was really kind when he left and told Adam that he was Jack's favorite camper and told Adam that he would call when he was home on break.

I can admit defeat. Today sucked. But little does Adam know that tomorrow when he wakes up, there will be a crowd of kids waiting in the kitchen to yell “surprise” when he comes down for breakfast. (I recruited kids from the “C” list, as even the “B” list kids are all away.) I called them all about an hour ago and we are good to go. One mom said that her daughter had been throwing up with a fever all day, but I said “great, bring her.”

I also called the bakery and was willing to pay an un-g-dly amount to have a Batman cake all made up by 6am tomorrow morning.
I think tomorrow will be great and hopefully Adam looks forward to other birthdays in the years to come.

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