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©September 2001

Carol Jane Remsburg



The Birthday Party





Do our children ever know what we really do for them?  No, they have no clue.  And it's not just the $$$ we spend.  If it were just that then all would be easy.  I save up for all her big stuff—back-to-school clothes, Christmas, Easter, summer clothes, Halloween, and other sundry events.  No, throwing money at a kid doesn't make it worthwhile although it can be the icing on the cake.


What said kid doesn't understand is the time, the effort and diplomacy that go into the event.  And for her, it's always an "event."  Since she was born, Erin had always had a party.  Once we even did one of those—bring all your little friends to the cavalcade of Romper Room torture—with pizza and cake.  Yet mostly, we have her parties at home.  This means friends and family.  For those who know, mixing in-laws can be as delicate as tossing about nitro.


Not only must the house pass inspection along with the yard, the food must be abundant and on-target for the theme.  There are balloons, cards, and gifts.  Oh, and cake!  Sometimes the cake must be in multiples due to attendee's allergies.


Still, the worst part in running interference.  After an exhaustive play at making our home presentable for company, the most excruciating part is where "his" family meets up with "my" family—or what's left of it.  They mix much like oil and water.  Words are often exchanged through gritted teeth.  And everybody smiles. 


Man, they smile so hard they could cut diamonds.  This is the ONLY event that brings both sides together.  This is also the only event my mother-in-law doesn't rule.  My sister hasn't and won't forgive that we don't get to do Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter together—she gets Halloween. 


Don cooks and I serve.  I serve up dishes I've already prepared and offer drinks and keep busy.  A moving target is often hard to hit.


Spot fires and arguments erupt and I douse them with more food, drink, and an offer to view Erin's room which she cleaned herself.  This is always an out.  If it's my sister, I'll drag her butt to the bathroom.


Finally, all are fed and it's time for the cake and presents.  Then I discover the darn candles are so highly waxed they don't want to light and I torch my thumbnail only to douse in the handy kitchen sink.  We sing, we clap, and we grin and bear it.


The presents are received and Erin thanks one and all.  Her joy in the day with all her favorite people surrounding her seems to uplift those who aren't happy.  I'm back being busy cleaning up the mess—still on the move!


The mass exodus begins.  Hugs and smiles all around.


We managed to get through another year without an eruption akin the St. Helens.


She will never know the high-wire tension we stroll on this one day a year.  It'll be a week before I recover—only to ready for Don's big cookout.  Now THAT will be an adventure. 


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