Tag Archives: the trouble with birthday parties


Well we survived another birthday party.  I'm not talking the benign kind; you know where the grandparents come and there's cake with candles and singing and a couple of presents, and then the adults have coffee and visit?  I like those kind.

This was another kind. Rylie recently brought it to my attention that she's never had a "friend party".   I've found a perfectly good excuse for her to not have one every year.

She's the third kid.  I've learned from her older siblings that friend parties can be nightmares.

Pandora's box is always one of the things unwrapped and opened at the parties I've had for the kids.  Things have been broken.  Stuff has been spilled..... including tears.  I remember one party sitting catatonic in the middle of the floor while the children ran around in a circle and threw bits and pieces of wrapping paper in the air in some sort of frightening sacrifice ritual. Another time (a slumber party gone wrong) a sandwich of some sort (slathered in ketchup and ranch, topped with pickles and cheese slices) was built in my underclothes that were heisted from my room. I have a picture of it, but I'll spare you.

(Sigh.) Memories.

Rylie had her "friend party" at Max Bowl Saturday.

8 Years Old-First Ever Friend Party
8 Years Old-First Ever Friend Party

I just knew her birthday cake was some sort of bad omen.  I'd grabbed it at HEB.  I told the lady behind the counter (who did not ask) twice how to spell Rylie's name.......  She still spelled it wrong. However she let me know it was no big deal as she scraped off the incorrect letters and squirted nice, thick purple letters to disguise the error.  Hours later the icing on two sides of the cake wilted, looking somewhat like a landslide.

Rylie's Cake 2013

But we carried on.

Jason wanted to turn around and go home when we had a hard time finding a parking spot at the bowling alley. I'm pretty sure the inside was crowded too, but I could barely see a thing- except for red and green laser twinkles and whatever fluoresced with the black light.

I was terrified that a kid in my care was going to get lost or snatched.  There were a couple of times that a kid would try to wander over to the arcade.  I'd bring them back.  I guess it's the teacher in me, but I pretty much did a headcount over and over the whole time we were there.

Rylie's Friends, bday 2013

I drew imaginary lines for them at the border of our bowling lanes much like an air traffic controller and told them to stay inside them.  I even dangled the $5 arcade cards literally over the heads of the two escapees as an encouragement to stay put.  I was a total party pooper.

I hemmed them in.

I do a lot of hemming.

I hem myself in too; tight, like the shirt that I attempted to put on the day before yesterday that got stuck at my shoulders (I love that shirt, but it's too binding). I hem myself in to where there's no freedom, only security with fear of what exists beyond my safe place (Is that really security)?

I have no business hemming really.  I can't even sew on a button.

We survived the party, and good news, nobody was hurt and no tears were shed.  I've returned to the world where I do my best to control my surroundings; my personal Gilligan's Island. Still, with certainty life will throw me curve balls tomorrow that force me to step outside my safe borders.

On all occasions it does me good to remember that there's a master seamster:

Waiting on texts from your teenager to assure you he's ok

New opportunities; ones you aren't sure you can handle

In the mystery and in the scared-known, we can rest assured:

      You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;  if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,  if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me,  your right hand will hold me fast.

Psalm 139

As we run in circles

In our wandering off

and stealing away

Beyond the safely defined borders

Into the unknown

He is there.