Gift Table . . .
Run, jump, kick, sweat, cough without covering your mouth, make new friends without even asking for their name (you knew they dug the twisty slide too - what else mattered?) and eventually - just as energy levels would dip . . . bring out the cake, ice cream, and punch. And maybe the crappy, overpriced pizza (big spenders, the Joneses!). And no matter how short or long the party was it never felt quite long enough. It was just the most amazing thing in the world to spend a Saturday afternoon trashing around and giving no f*cks!
Fast forward a generation and now you are the parent . . . oy vey. Parenting. I do love it but some days I have no idea what I am doing. When I go to these parties now I realize how amazingly fun these things are for the kids and how POTENTIALLY fun they are for the parents. I think the key . . . like with playing any game or navigating the hallways of Junior High School is to know the rules, know the expectations, and have at least one or two friends to help you out.
I went to a party on Saturday with Ava. Great time. My friends Justin and Jennifer had a dual (vs. duel) party for their two kids. Ava and I were excited to be invited and I was lucky to have at least one other friend there to hang out with (and they introduced me to a few other parents and guests). My trip from Math class to American Literature was a success.
The point being I sat down at one point - during the cake and punch portion of the party - and realized that I don't really know of/have any group activit(y/ies) in my life right now that makes me as jubilant as kids at a birthday party. And I don't know why. Let's be honest - I never really liked sports so why would a group baseball game thrill me? Friendship. I love to roller skate but the communal nature of the footwear, even at an early age, made me uneasy (I would wear two pair of socks - because that was allllllll you need to stay clean (hint to you kids still reading - this rule does not apply to condoms)). Video games always just showcased how horrible my hand-eye coordination was (I would use my entire body to make Mario jump on the Nintendo console - and I'm not talking about the Wii version). But I loved those parties.
I guess I'm just a different social person now. I think I have become "less" social in a weird way. I appreciate alone and parenting time more and more. I have found running to be an amazingly enjoyable "waste" of time. I like to sit here on my laptop, in the middle of the night, and blog. I like to read and read and read. I will go to any party I am invited to/can make (they are now filled with board games and coolers of beer and bottles of wine and really delicious foods and maybe, just maybe, some mellow music in the background) but I still find myself huddled up with two or three people at a time . . . and sometimes I will talk with only those two or three people for the duration. I like to have lunch or dinner with just one other person so I can really focus on them. I enjoy smaller groups when groups is the expectation, etc. The chaos of running around with 25 other peers (kids in this analogy - presuming I were young again) does very little for me. I wonder if this is a normal part of growing older or if I am an outlier.
Bottm line - I enjoyed chatting with the other parents and guests at this party but I don't know if I would even go to a "kid's" birthday party today if "kid's" parties were still thrown for adults . . . I'm way too fat for the bouncy house anyway.