It was the worst birthday party ever.
Of course, because that's the way my sitcom of a life goes, the disaster occurred at the birthday party of my one child who plans everything in excruciating detail--four months in advance. With multiple lists. And week by week schedules of tasks to be completed.
Sophie chose her favorite part of the park for the celebration. She even coerced her siblings into making signs to guide the mothers around to the party place. Since her birthday is in September, outdoor parties for her were not uncommon. The year of her 9th birthday, however, it was uncommonly hot. And, of course, she chose the one playground area with extremely limited tree coverage. Here's how it went down:
The first activity on the agenda was free play while the parents set up the picnic table and games. The guests were very excited when they arrived and played for about 15 minutes before discovering why this particular playground had been the last one in the park not claimed by anyone else that day. And no, it wasn't the excruciating heat with no shade relief. Instead, it was the way the cockle burrs had completely taken over the entire playground area. After 15 minutes of free play, the girls ran over all in a tizzy over the stickers sticking in their socks and on their shoe strings. They started picking them off, which escalated the tizzy to a torrent of shrieks as the sticker picking pricked their digits.
Attempting to stay on track with Sophie's time schedule, we ushered the guests to the picnic table where pie tins of whipped cream awaited them. Inside each tin was a piece of bubble gum. The ideas was to dive face first into the whipped cream and find the bubble gum. The first one to blow a bubble wins the game.
Ready, Set, Go! The girls dive in! And so do the swarm of bumble bees who apparently found the party game too sweet to resist. The girls run...across the prickly stickers...to the bathrooms to wash off the stickiness. The parents dispose of the pie tins and grab the pinata in a last ditch effort to save the party. Everyone loves a good pinata.
Back come the guests, through the prickly stickers. The pounding of the pinata proceeds. Yes! No one pokes an eye out. Everyone gets a turn. The last girls busts it open and the candy flies.
Ok, push pause for just a second. A little note about Sophie...she doesn't like chocolate. Another genetic mutation, I'm sure. We love her anyway. Although she had given me a specific list of what she wanted in the pinata, I decided that just because Sophie doesn't like chocolate, doesn't mean the guests should be deprived. I had filled that sucker full with miniature chocolate bars. And a few fruit snacks for the birthday girl. Ok, resume...
As the flying candy hit the prickly sticker covered ground, it landed with a splat. After all, this day set the record high temperature for September. The guests opted out of the melted chocolate finger pricking pick up game.
So the parents plucked more stickers from socks and shoelaces. Sophie opened her presents. And the guests got the heck out of there.
Still, I don't remember one crying kid or or any drama queen huffing or puffing. Amid the bloody finger tips and bumble bee swarms and wasted chocolate, there was laughter and friendship. We still laugh about that birthday, especially when things aren't going quite as we've planned. Which, if you've read even a few Roaring Mom entries, you know is most of the time.
We don't remember what candy was inside any other pinata we've ever busted open. We don't remember the exact location of many a park party. We don't recall all the silly games we convinced our friends to dive into over the years. But we remember all of that and more from the Botched Birthday. We remember the smiles and the fun. We remember that it was a Happy Birthday. Probably one of the best birthday parties ever.
Happy Birthday, my beautiful girls! And many, many more!