Can we all admit, now that our kids are older and we don’t have to give those big, elaborate, expensive parties, that they were the WORST??? When my kids’ birthdays approached, I thought in dread of the fete I was expected to throw…. Being politically correct, every child in the class had to be invited (which I agree with – since I lived in fear that Henry would not be invited….) Gone are the days of the relatively calm birthday parties that I grew up with. A few friends from the neighbourhood, a few games, a nice lunch, birthday cake (with coins in it of course), a small but cool loot bag, and everybody went home! My parents had 4 kids to contend with, and had no money, so large parties would have been out of the question. Nobody had big parties for little kids…..
So, back to those big parties… First, you have to come up with a theme or something for them to do… and it can’t be the same thing that your friend dreamt up for their kid’s birthday. And you’re trying to avoid taking out a loan to pay for the damn thing! And inevitably, the most irritating, pain-in-the-ass kid was always picked up last! You might think I’m being awfully hypocritical, given that Henry couldn’t have been a walk in the park as a little guy. Well – he wasn’t – and I’m not! I was always on time to pick up Henry! You know why?! Because, I had to attend the parties he was invited to as well!!!
Now, don’t get me wrong… I was very grateful to the Moms for including Henry in everything – and all of the kids liked him. But, he often did have meltdowns during these crazy, overwhelming, sensory overloads called birthday parties! I could hardly expect the Moms of the birthday girls or boys to handle him as well as handling all the other little darlings. So, instead of a few hours of peaceful respite with a book, I was at the parties….
Some of the parties stand out in my memory. One in particular…. There were at least 40 kids at this party, and every relative that the kid had…. Henry had had two meltdowns during this party (which was also too long). During pizza, the birthday boy absolutely LOST IT!!!! He started crying and yelled at the top of his lungs, “This is the WORST birthday ever!!!” Right on, little dude!!! I can’t WAIT to get home and have a glass of wine, and I don’t care if it isn’t the cocktail hour – it is somewhere in the world!
I can laugh now at these silly things – in the big scheme of things, birthday parties were not the end of the world. And thankfully, I do remember the feelings of warmth at watching my children’s faces in joy as they ran, jumped and laughed at their own birthday parties.