Editor's note: Jill Adams is a professional writer based in Fort Wayne.
Despite the fact that birthdays are celebrated like national holidays in our home, my husband and I had never experienced a true “big kid” birthday party.
Sure, we had thrown our fair share of bashes … but they were generally the type that included family, friends — and the friends' parents.
This year, however, ushered in a new phase.
“Mom,” my eldest son announced roughly 30 days before his big day, “I want a party with all my school friends.”
“Sure, sounds fun,” I told him. “We'll go next weekend and get invitations.”
Two weeks later, we had a theme, bags of decorations, a cake on order and a slew of RSVP's streaming in. It wasn't until the fifth confirmation call that my husband looked at me and asked one very poignant question.
“How many parents are staying for the party?” he asked with an amused look.
“I think just a few,” I responded.
He raised his eyebrows at me, and I quickly did the math in my head.
“Yes, we will be grossly outnumbered,” I conceded. “But it will be fine. I mean, it's only three hours.”
He nodded and shrugged, and we never talked about it again.
And then, the day arrived.
My children bounced around excitedly all day as I (unwisely) cleaned and my husband hung decorations. We picked up the massive cake, which was met with squeals of delight. As the doorbell began to chime, my son became overjoyed. The kids immediately set in on the party games, and we adults sat and watched the festivities.
“This isn't bad at all,” I told my husband. He nodded his agreement, and I happily turned to the kids.
“Who wants pizza?” I called out.
Every small head turned, and the kitchen was instantly full of partygoers. As they gathered around, I felt a little tug on my shirt. I looked down to see one of my son's classmates.
“I only like cheese pizza,” she said tersely.
I opened the cheese pizza box … and it was empty.
“How about pepperoni?” I offered.
“No, pepperoni makes me puke,” she said, crossing her arms.
I looked around, suddenly desperate for cheese pizza. I spotted my son's plate, which had an untouched slice on it. After whispering my plea in his ear, he graciously sacrificed his cheese pizza slice and accepted a pepperoni in its place. Problem solved.
Dinner was over in a matter of moments, and the kids once again retreated outside for play. I had just settled in my chair when I heard a suspicious sound.
My eye went right to my son, who was holding his mouth.
“Are you OK?” I asked him.
He only nodded, but walked quickly inside. I followed him, and hadn't closed the door behind me when …
“Mommmm!” he wailed.
I ran to my sobbing birthday boy.
“My tooth is missing!”
He opened his mouth, and to my great dismay, his brand new adult tooth was chipped in half.
“How…?” I began as my husband came inside.
“He hit me with my toy!” my son said, pointing to one of his friends.
I took a deep breath as my husband commenced his examination.
“It's OK,” he announced and gave me a reassuring look.
Miraculously and abruptly past the incident, my son ran back outside and rejoined his friends. I closed my eyes as I considered the future dental bill, and then opened them to look at the clock: 75 minutes left.
Thirty minutes later, another partygoer was in tears.
“I have a blister!” she exclaimed as she ran over to me.
One superhero band-aid later, and we were all ready for cake. I marveled at the power of dessert to effectively quiet a room of kids.
Next it was gifts, and everyone gathered around my son to “ooh” and “ahh” over his new treasures. Before I knew it, parents were arriving. The party drew to a close. It was the longest three hours of my life.
As we began to pick up the remnants of the day, my son looked at me thoughtfully.
“That was awesome,” he said dreamily. “I wish it was my birthday every day.”
I smiled at him. But secretly, I was feeling pretty happy that I had 364 days to recover.
This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel. Jill Adams blogs at http://lifewithoutbumperpads.blogspot.com.