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THE PARTY’S OVER

When Good Enough Mother woke up this morning, suffice it to say it was not pretty. I felt like I had been run ragged by 25, pre–teens, high on sugar and all talking at the same time. Wait that IS what happened!

True confession, I felt like a failure. I had all these great ideas for the game show in our front yard, the party that was going to be bigger and better than the 7,000-dollar party at the teen warehouse. But very little went as I planned.

To start, some kids were coming early, some coming late, some hadn’t RSVP’d and my social secretary son had invited kids I had no idea about until they showed up and my doorstep. To complicate matters, Casey had her guitar recital right in the middle of the afternoon. Luckily she was first and I had special dispensation to leave early.

Speaking of Casey, I hired her to be my right hand for the party. Her job was to take photos at the photo booth but she ended up doing so much more. She fetched ping pong balls, tissues, pencils, spray painted more girl-friendly backdrops for the photo booth, wrote on poster board and in general, kept her mother from having a complete breakdown. Yes, she was just that good.

You may recall we were reproducing the game show Minute to Win It in the front yard. The show features a series of games using common household items. The first game was called Hanky Panky and the goal was to pull all the tissues out of the box using only one hand. When I sent the invites out, I asked everyone to bring “ a rectangular, top loaded tissue box with 110 sheets”. I got square boxes, triangular boxes, boxes with side opening, boxes with 108 sheets, some with 184, very few with 110 sheets.

When Good Enough Mother woke up this morning, suffice it to say it was not pretty. I felt like I had been run ragged by 25, pre–teens, high on sugar and all talking at the same time. Wait that IS what happened!

True confession, I felt like a failure. I had all these great ideas for the game show in our front yard, the party that was going to be bigger and better than the 7,000-dollar party at the teen warehouse. But very little went as I planned.

To start, some kids were coming early, some coming late, some hadn’t RSVP’d and my social secretary son had invited kids I had no idea about until they showed up and my doorstep. To complicate matters, Casey had her guitar recital right in the middle of the afternoon. Luckily she was first and I had special dispensation to leave early.

Speaking of Casey, I hired her to be my right hand for the party. Her job was to take photos at the photo booth but she ended up doing so much more. She fetched ping pong balls, tissues, pencils, spray painted more girl-friendly backdrops for the photo booth, wrote on poster board and in general, kept her mother from having a complete breakdown. Yes, she was just that good.

You may recall we were reproducing the game show Minute to Win It in the front yard. The show features a series of games using common household items. The first game was called Hanky Panky and the goal was to pull all the tissues out of the box using only one hand. When I sent the invites out, I asked everyone to bring “ a rectangular, top loaded tissue box with 110 sheets”. I got square boxes, triangular boxes, boxes with side opening, boxes with 108 sheets, some with 184, very few with 110 sheets.

Before I continue I must tell you a little something about this age group. The girls preen constantly, especially when boys are around and the boys couldn’t care any less because they’re too busy pounding the crap out of each other. And thus it went in my front yard. Girls with their glossy lips and boys giving each other fat lips.  But while the boys pretend not to pay attention to the girls they really are and they are showing their masculinity by being complete and utter jackasses.

So when the game started, three guys at the end of the table pulled all the tissues out in bunch. Right. I had to send one of the nice moms who took pity on me and helped, to the drug store to buy 20 boxes of top loaded tissue paper with 110 sheets in it. She at least followed the instructions.

The next game involved throwing ping pong balls onto a piece of peanut buttered bread. “Oh you mean like Beer Pong?” said one of the 12 year olds. Wow. There-are-no-words. That game took forever and kids were cussing, no actually CUSSING when they missed! What the hell is that about?

By about the fourth game (out of ten) the air horn was out of gas and so was I. In my mind’s eye, I had envisioned the kids sitting quietly on the yard, until it was time to cheer at which point they would yell and shout for their designated player. The reality was it was similar to putting a sock on a snake with the birthday boy as one of the ringleaders.

I tried the candy elevator game and it was an unmitigated disaster. See here’s how it’s supposed to work.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhRn5rqNfcc[/youtube]


In actuality, as soon as I put the bag of M&M’s down to help someone with their string, one of the young Turks absconded with it.

Parents began showing up at 8 and I tried to soldier on under their withering gaze. One actually came up to me and asked, “Uh, how much longer is this going to go on?” I wanted to scream “ UNTIL I FRIGGIN’ GET DONE LADY NOW SIT OVER THERE AND SHUT UP!” Of course I did not, but at that moment, I realized I had lost complete control. I gave up. The girls were reapplying mascara and combing their locks while the boys were playing manhunt, climbing trees and falling out of them.

I was so ready for it to be over and as kids filed to their cars, my husband yelled “THE CAKE!” In all the excitement, I forgot to serve the hot dogs and the cake. Sheesh. We threw the candles on top in no particular order, lit them with a blowtorch, sang happy birthday double time and chopped that sucker up and doled out the pieces. They ate their cake as fast as they sung Happy Birthday and they were off, candy filled goody bags in hand.

I made a beeline right for the wine, where I drank what seemed like a magnum to dull the ache. Head pounding, back aching, feet and nerves raw, I poured myself into the bed.

When I awoke this morning, it was all but a distant memory. I made myself a leftover bratwurst sandwich for breakfast (Hey, I said I drank damn near a magnum of wine. I was hung over!) and replayed the events of the night before. Just then Cole came downstairs, with what he sad was a “junior hangover” from too much candy and running around.

“Did you have a good time buddy?” I asked him, afraid of what he might say. “Yeah” was his emphatic response. Being that he is a man-child of few words, all his responses were monosyllabic. “Do you think your friends had a good time?” I asked, desperate for more info. “Yeah.” Me- “They didn’t think it was corny?” “ NO” shaking his head for emphasis. I gave him a hug because that was about all I was going to get and honestly it was all I needed. The snafu with the games, the hurriedly ingested cake, the boys on one side of the yard, the girls on the other, none  of it mattered. My boy had a good time.

Of course there are no pictures of last nights events and if you are wondering why, go back and reread this post.

Can you relate to my birthday party story? What kept you from completely losing your mind?

9 Comments

  1. Donna Bentley

    June 20, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    You are such a great mom Rene…I love reading your blog

  2. Linda Bosco

    June 21, 2010 at 6:58 am

    Rene, the parents always stress about how the party is going to turn out. Bottom line, Cole was surrounded by all of his friends and that’s all they ever want. Children are not as critical as you think. I’m sure it was a blast!

  3. Kimi Griffith Lewis

    June 21, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I have always admired your honesty. I commend you for having a party with so many kids and so many great ideas. You deserve (((BIG SQUISHY HUGS!!!))) From one of your biggest fans… me. 😀

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  6. DawnKA

    June 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Awesome!!! My kids had birthday parties until they were about 5 and after that it was a few friends to either a amusement park, or a dinner at a kid friendly restaurant (Jekyll & Hyde, Hard Rock Cafe, Dave & Busters, etc.) and movie, arcade or Broadway show in NYC. It’s so much fun for all especially — me.

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  9. Faun Reese

    June 12, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    You’re so awesome for even being involved in planning parties for your kids at this age. Most parents could care less or would send their kids off to the movies or to the skating rink with friends and say that’s your party. Other parents are over-critical for whatever reason is beyond me because when the shoe is on the other foot, they are under just as much pressure if not more. Others are just plain jealous that you’d take the time to do for your kids like you did! I admire your zealous spirit in spite of all you do plus trying to keep up with us amongst all the madness and recruit help from dear sweet Casey knowing that she had a prior engagement herself. You are an awesome mom, I don’t care what anyone says or thinks!

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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