“That’ll be $500.00, ma’am, plus food and beverage,” she said without apologizing for the small fortune she just quoted me.
$500? For a party? I can’t possibly. . .
“I’ll get back to you,” I moped.
All I wanted to do was have a party. I wanted him to know he was beloved and that his milestones mattered. Party planning started out simply– I called a clown and a folk singer to see if they would come and serve as our in-home entertainment. The clown, however, had checked into rehab, and the folk singer wanted to charge me roughly what Lady Gaga would charge to show up and sing Happy Birthday (meat dress not included).
Simplicity was failing so naturally I went insane. I was becoming that mom.
He was turning 2, and I was acting like I was planning a wedding reception. For a sheik.
But a humble little bar-b-que or a “come over and eat chili” thing didn’t sound fun or special or Instagram-worthy. It wasn’t enough for all I needed this party to do. Namely, make up to my second child all the hurts, slights, wounds (imagined or real) I believed I suffered as a second child growing up. Technically, I think it’s called projection, but you may know it better as “being an asshat.”
Once my baggage gets in the driver’s seat, things get expensive and extremely un-fun. My husband Jeff gently broke it to me that our son will grow up to be a bright, successful young man with above-average intelligence, but he isn’t going to remember his second birthday. I knew Jeff was right, but I didn’t want to let go. If I let Jeff plan the party, it will just be a glorified playdate and then Simon will be a cutter or a porn star.
As much as it hurt, I let Jeff take over the planning.
His idea? “Let’s have a sledding party!”
My response? “Awe. Some. Because there’s been zero inches of snow all year. I’m not sure if you heard, but the globe is doing this troubling warming thing. Also? do you know how stressful it is to plan weather-contingent events?”
Jeff ignored my protests and he sent out an informal save-the-date to Simon’s friends. I watched the forecast continually remain above normal. Four days before the sledding party, Chicago set a record for the warmest January day since 1607; I didn’t even wear a coat that day. I mentally prepared for the day that Simon called to tell me he was running a sex slave operation “because he never got a special second birthday party.”
Jeff remained optimistic. He gloated as the temperatures started to fall. 24 hours before the party, he started shoving that stupid radar screen in my face that showed a mass of “snow-ice mix” moving straight for Chicago.
Still, I didn’t believe.
The night before the party, I fell asleep with this cheery thought: How lame that everyone is coming over for a Costco bagel and some grocery store sheet cake. Simon is for sure going to become a pimp or a Republican. This sucks.
The morning of the party, I didn’t even look out the window. I could hear Jeff and the kids rustling around getting ready for the party. I found all three of them in ski gear (Simon in Sadie’s old pink snow suit) yapping about snow.
Because of course we got three fucking inches of snow.
Jeff’s eyes were bright and the kids were buzzing around. We made a 120 ounces of hot chocolate, put on waterproof clothing and headed for the hill.
We sledded out hearts out in honor of Simon’s second birthday, in that magical snow that appeared out of nowhere.
It was memorable and perfect for my little second-born Buddha boy. Maybe he won’t be a loan shark after all….maybe he’ll be a nice guy and a thoughtful father, just like his dad.