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Birthday parties--even my own--freak me out
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My child is already making his birthday list, putting a corgi at the top of his list followed by Pokemon cards and DS games.

His birthday is months away, mind you.

But, he starts early. Real early. And that's OK. It's my way of making up for never having him a real, official birthday party.

Just hearing about friend's planning parties for their own children is usually enough to give me hives.

All the elaborate stuff that goes into it - jump-jumps, petting zoos, themes.

What happened to just cake and ice cream?

I'm not knocking those who do the big deal birthdayy parties at all; they are just not something I would do and didn't even want when I was a kid.

Nope, even when I was a kid, birthday parties kind of freaked me out.

Who in the world ever thought running around a bunch of chairs, with balloons on them nonetheless, to fight with other kids in a game of "Musical Chairs" was fun?

It was terrifying.

For one thing, the sound of a balloon popping is terrifying. Particularly if under your tater. Running around a bunch of chairs is not fun either.

It made me feel like a real life Jack in the Box toy, which also scared the stew out of me, except instead of popping up, we were popping down.

Then there was usually a pin the tail on the donkey thing. Yeah, give kids something with basically a needle and blindfold them. It made me question all the rules of safety I had been cautioned about. I mean, what was next - running with scissors?

The worst though was my own birthday party one year.

I was so excited about having my friends come over, but Mama probably chained smoked two packs of Virginia Slims while she got everything ready.

And nothing made Mama scared like seeing a car pull up for someone to drop their child off at the party and peel away.

Mama watched the car drive away in a panic.

"Does your Mama know when the party's over?" she asked as the child made her way inside.

"She knows to come back and get you, right? Right? Where did she go? Some place close?"

I didn't know why Mama was so upset but I think she wanted to cry.

She wanted to sit on the couch with the other moms, but she couldn't.

She had to make sure everything went smoothly, meaning someone wasn't sticking their fingers in the cake.

We played the games - no musical chairs with the balloons or pin the tail on the donkey. I can't remember what we played but it was not that.

As we settled in for cake and ice cream, Mama was ready to breathe a sigh of relief. Everyone knew cake and ice cream meant the party was wrapping up.

Just as Mama was thinking she had survived, she found two kids jumping on her bed.
I'm not sure how she got them down but she did and she didn't even scream.

Maybe it was because she knew the party was about to be over.

Soon, mamas were grabbing up coats and gathering their children, thanking Mama for the party. Knowing my Mama, she was ready for them all to leave so she could chain smoke for the next two hours.

We still didn't know if that other mama was coming back or not.

Eventually, she did. It was about an hour or two after the party ended but she finally came back.

Mama didn't know who that kid was, and I still don't know either.

That was the last birthday party we had at home.

"Mama, can I have a birthday party - a real one? Not at school?" Cole asked me years ago.

He had had all his parties at school which meant I brought something to the school to celebrate. One year, I even took a piñata then realized that was about as bad as the pin the tail on the donkey thing.

Multiple kids running around and needing to be watched and entertained, the dogs panicking and probably getting stuck under the bed while they hid, trying to make small talk with parents while I wanted to introvert...

"No. I think I am going to take a hard pass on that," I said. "But, I will make it up to you. I promise."

So he starts his birthday wish list in July.

He gets one really cool gift and some small other ones; I get to keep my sanity.

Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and the author of the novel, "The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery."

 

 

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