Friday, February 10, 2006

Patrick's Birthday Party

I’ve described Patrick as Aunt Bob’s 3-year-old, but he doesn’t officially turn three until tomorrow. He had the first of two birthday parties this morning, with the children from his preschool as guests.

My office was closed today as a reward for the crazy hours we’ve logged this week. Bump and Lumpyhead were on the guest list for Party I: The Preschool Edition from the get-go, and since I was off today, I crashed the event.

Eight of Patrick’s eleven classmates, their moms, and one sibling attended the party. Bump, Lumpyhead and I walked into controlled chaos: nine three-year-olds and one fourteen-month-old were hurling toys, shrieking, and flicking cupcake icing under close maternal supervision.

I met most of the moms, and all of the kids, but can only remember a few of their names. The mothers were bright, hip, and unflappable. A couple of them were pregnant. The children were polite, cute, and age-appropriately rambunctious.

As I surveyed the destruction, I sized up these other mothers. We were the same demographic, for the most part; they were probably a lot like me.

But I felt nothing like them, these assembled mommies from a nice preschool. They all seemed so serene in the face of the unfolding madness, so blissfully happy in their mommyhood. They exchanged precious anecdotes about children, babies and pregnancy. They chatted sweetly while hawkishly monitoring toddlers and cheerfully averting disasters.

I felt the strong urge for a good, stiff drink. But it was 11:30 in the morning, so I kept the sentiment to myself.

By 1:00pm, the guests had left and Patrick’s gifts had been opened and recorded. Patrick was down for a nap, and Lumpyhead was asleep in my arms.

Bump brought me a vodka and grapefruit juice.

Aunt Bob sat down for a beer before going back to work.

And as the four of us sat around and snarked over our drinks, I realized I belonged at this party after all.

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