Because Going to a Birthday Party Isn’t JUST Going to a Birthday Party

My 5-year-old daughter has an active social life—much more so than her parents.

Today she was invited to two birthday parties. I RSVP’d to party #1, which was totally doable. Party #2, however, conflicted with plans Chris and I had already made for a night out with friends to watch the Titans game and have dinner. So I declined party #2 and didn’t say a word about it to Susanna.

All was well until talk of the party #2 happened at school. After Susanna’s begging to go and our re-consideration, we decided with some creative juggling, we could probably make it work.

Thus begins my proclamation that when one goes to a birthday party… there’s just so much more to it than that.

First–the RSVP. I had to call Eden’s mother back and say that yes, we were coming after all. I’m thinking to myself that we need to notify her in as much time as possible so that she can prepare for an extra child (knowing that I’d want the same courtesy).

Next–the gift. I actually had a gift purchased for some other party months ago that we had to bail on at the last minute. But, I can’t find the gift. I can only think of two places to look before my window of time closes. So, now, we have to get a gift.

We decide on a large–I mean, LARGE–floor coloring book and a Barbie. This is a great gift, but now we need a large gift bag for it. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that the gift bags at Toys ‘R Us are more expensive than the gift itself. And they don’t have the little card attached. And we’re not going home to get a card. I just can’t do it. I can’t pay like $8 for a gift bag and card, both of which I know will eventually be thrown in the trash.

OK–s0 we get the gift but have to go to the Dollar Tree to get the bag and possibly a card (if the little card is not attached).

(An aside here: I think the greeting card industry is the biggest rip-off on the face of the planet. It absolutely pains me to purchase for several dollars what I know will eventually end up in the trash. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer and don’t have any problem expressing myself on paper. But I never buy kids birthday cards because I think they are the most enormous waste of money. Your kid gets a gift from my kid, and your kid will be getting a little slip of paper with my kid’s name on it. )

Yay! The Dollar Tree has GINORMOUS gift bags with the little card attached. Oh, yea, and the tissue paper. Yes. The Dollar Tree has tissue paper, too.

Finally–directions. This particular party is being held just one street over… or so I think. So, I turn onto the street, scanning the house numbers. The road dead ends at a fence. But beyond the fence, I see more houses. Oh, yea… now I remember. For some ABSOLUTELY IDIOTIC reason, this street is continued on the other side, but the only way down that side of the street is over the river and through the wood… no joke. Because removing the fence and connecting two ends of the same street, making a complete thoroughfare would be, I don’t know, thoughtful, convenient, and sensible.

Chris and I then made our way to our friends’ home. I am there a little over an hour until I have to leave, pick up Susanna, take her to our house where our babysitter was, then join my date night at our friends’ house already in progress.

Now you see why going to a birthday party isn’t JUST going to a birthday party.