“Do you think we have enough food?” I worried my husband Tom. The end of last week“I don’t want anyone to go hungry.”
Tom laughed at the stacks of sausage rolls, breadsticks, and oversized sandwiches. “We have twice as many visitors here,” he assured me.
I looked again and pushed him towards the door. Nevermind it was 7:30am. “Go get another loaf of bread,” I commanded, “and babybells and mini-his chocolate-his brownies.”
Haute cuisine was scarce, but we weren’t throwing fancy dinner parties at the time. But considering how stressed I was, maybe I was making the rounds of royalty.
Tom and I have little experience with children’s parties. My eldest son Theo’s first birthday was celebrated in a pub function room with lots of toys bundled up, along with tons of prosecco and beer. His second, shortly after Immy was born, was a different pub with a children’s playground, although very similar.
Then we went into lockdown and for the next two years, children’s birthday parties were banned, like all other social events.
To be honest, after recently having Immie’s disease, I still don’t know if I shouldn’t have it.
I forgot how stressful it can be to party in lockdown.
And this was even worse. Because if everything went wrong, it was my little girl who would be disappointed, not me.
From the off, first I was stressed about the guest list. She started attending nursery school when she was a year old, and Immy mentioned she had two kids playing with her, maybe she had three. ever. After handing out her invitations, it turned out that one of them had left the daycare six weeks before her.
The nursery staff gave me the names of a few more children she had spent time with. In the end, I thought there were quite a few, in addition to my best friend’s children, nieces and nephews. Enough to keep our reserved soft play area busy enough without being overwhelmed.
That was until the day before, when I received a text from a mother saying that her little one had been sent home from daycare sickness and could not come anymore, but we both wished Immy a nice day. Then just a few minutes later another text, another mother, another message went down. I’m sorry that the unavoidable plan was made at the last minute.
Tom made me take a deep breath. Good. Two less was fine. we hardly notice. That is, if everyone else comes. “What if they forget?” I asked Tom frantically. It was easy. I’d like Just a few months ago, when work was overwhelming, Tom had COVID-19 and I was sitting in Thomas the Train at our local park. I felt terrible.
Then, a message comes from the woman who was making Immy’s cake. she was in the hospital. “I won’t let you down. The cake is made and decorated,” she assured me. “But I can’t deliver it.” It started at 9:30 and we had to get ready to arrive at 9:30.
Thankfully, my sister came to my aid.
Well, morning finally came, and I hurriedly started eating. Even though I was half-sure that no one would come, when I saw the bags of food, I was sure there wouldn’t be enough to feed the no-show guests. The irony that didn’t escape me.
“Children don’t eat at parties, especially sandwiches,” they told me when I emailed my concerns. “It’s okay as long as you have sweets.”
It was only when we arrived at the leisure center that we finally stopped worrying about food.
Because I found something else to worry about. Guests were arriving, but I didn’t know anyone. After talking to a mother for about five minutes about her, I realized she wasn’t at the party. Her children, four years her senior to Immy, were sneaking past her receptionist.
Thankfully, my sister and I had room for food as the kids raced, bounced, and trotted through soft play while Tom handed out squishy yogurt and squash.
The screams and laughter finally subsided when everyone sat down and began to squat. And when I brought Immy’s cake forward to sing Happy Birthday and her beaming smile lit up her little face, I grinned just as brightly. , even from relief.
Because you weren’t wrong. In fact, it was going as correctly as possible.
“I feel like I’ve run a marathon,” I told Tom, three hours later when I packed a barely touched sandwich.
It’s unfortunate that Theo’s 5th birthday is in 3 weeks, but we have to do it all over again. At least this time, don’t let Tom go buy bread.
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