I distinctly remember the chills of excitement that would course through my body in the moments before my childhood birthday parties would begin.
The endless fun we were about to have – whether it was a magician (hey – I was 6 or something), or a skating party (Canadian, remember?) – coupled with all of my friends being there to celebrate with me, and of course, the suspense of all of the wrapped presents that I would eventually get to tear open.
Birthday parties were magical!
It’s amazing how a little perspective can alter your perception of reality. Not only do your parties change as you get older – juice turns to booze (unless you don’t drink – guilty), magicians and skating parties “magically” become dinner and/or dancing, and cake, well, thankfully cake remains cake (you just get to eat more of it – your parents can’t tell you not to eat so much anymore!), but going to them is a whole different story as well.
To be honest, I’m really okay with this transition. In truth, as I’ve grown up and had a kid of my own, I really treasure the quiet moments – my last couple of birthdays have consisted of a nice quiet dinner with Cherise, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way!
If I’m really honest, I can’t stand doing things in large groups (parties, etc…), and for one simple reason: in large groups, you never really get to speak with anybody about anything even remotely meaningful.
Here’s an example:
Me: “Hey! John (arbitrary name for an acquaintance)! How’s it going? Been so long. This is my wife Cherise”
John: “Hey Cherise! Great to meet you!”
Cherise: “You too!”
John: “I was just on my way to get a drink, you want anything?”
Us: “Nah, we’re good.”
John: “Cool. Catch up with you later! Nice meeting you.”
And just like that, we never see John again. Ever feel like that when you host a party? You never really get to talk to anybody because you’re too concerned about making the party good for everybody else. Everyone else, well, that’s a different story. But, I digress.
The whole point of this is really about going to other kids’ birthday parties.
Other kids’ parties.
When you have a child who is 1 & 3/4 years old, there is NO sitting, NO relaxing, NO playing in one place. There is only GO, GO, GO!
At home or at Gymboree, we have him contained. At parties, if both of us are there, one of us is chasing him around the room/park/wherever-the-hell-we-happen-to-be, while the other one eats as quickly as possible, has half of a conversation with nobody in particular and then goes to tag the other person out. If only one of us is there, well, nobody remembers because we were busy chasing Jacob and not eating anything or talking to anybody for more than 11 seconds.
Don’t get me wrong, we love our friends. And their kids, for that matter. It’s just that these things can be EXHAUSTING. And I bet you our friends feel the same way.
Case in point: We just went to our friends’ son’s 4th birthday at a park this past Saturday. As soon as Jacob’s feet hit the ground, he grabbed my finger and said “Go-go!”
I didn’t speak to another grown-up until Cherise brought me a tofu sandwich (some of you are cringing now, others understand) and a slice of pizza (thankfully).
He didn’t stop for more than 10 seconds until we came upon this little sandbox that had buried treasure in it as a game for the older kids. This occupied him for a while (long enough for me to get a sunburn on the back of my neck).
After I said quick goodbyes, I chased him around the sandbox (the big one) until we were actually ready to go. When we (finally) arrived at home, we put him down for a nap and then I put myself down for a nap.
When I awoke, we picked the date for Jacob’s 2nd birthday party.
We’re really looking forward to chasing him around that room and trying to spend time with our friends simultaneously.
It’s gonna be great!
Seriously. We love him.