Panicky Party Parent

This is a daft post, I’m just going to throw it out there at the get-go. It is a post based on my own personal experiences which, now that I’ve got kids, has translated into a stupid, baseless, fear.

The fear of nobody showing up to a birthday party.

See my birthday is at a somewhat awkward spot in the year. Aside from my family, the only person whose ever really made a big effort to make me celebrate it is Karen. For years I generally just let it pass without so much as telling anyone about it. I’d take the day off work so as not to work on my birthday, but other than that rarely made any fanfare about it.

All because, at least to me, it seemed that outside of my family nobody really cared if my birthday happened or not anyway.

But now I’ve entered into that stage of life, parenting life no less, when your little bundles of migraine-inducing joy are getting invited to parties. Which is great to see, it has to be said. Olivia has been to at least three non-family birthday bashes and all the kids were genuinely delighted to see her. She dove right into the crowd and was as much stealing the limelight from the birthday child as she was attending their party.

Her own birthday is approaching in a little over two months. For the last few weeks she keeps on telling us who she will invite to her birthday party. Last year we just kept with the low-key family stuff. But this year we decided that clearly we don’t have enough to drive us around the bend and booked a slot in a nearby playcentre that Olivia loves. The idea will be closer to the time we’ll invite her friends from creche along to it.

Which is were I’m starting to panic. But, like I said, it’s a stupid panic based on no evidence. Yet still, I worry.

What if nobody shows up?

Now, Olivia will be four (woah, hold on a second while I actually process that. When the hell did that happen!!!) and still is lucky to have a childlike view of the world. You get sweets, life is about playing and mean people are only the ones who hit you too hard during a game. So, if on her birthday it is just herself, her two cousins, and her lil brother she will be delighted with life and none the wiser that no kid she invited actually showed up.

But I’ll know and I genuinely thing it might break the lump of coal that pushes the black sludge around my veins in lieu of a heart and blood.

It’s stupid parenting panicking at the highest order.

She is more popular now than I will ever be in my entire life. She could invite the entire creche and the other kids would definitely show up. Hell she could invite the entire village and I’d say we’d be hard pushed for rejections.

It is just the fear in the back of my head. A fear that all parents no doubt have when making a similar step into the parenting world. A fear based off the fact that while the children view the world as sunshine and lollipops, parents are old and weary of it all. They know the world sucks balls when it wants to. They’ve read the stories online about nobody showing up to a six-year old’s birthday party because, at the heart of it, kids can be bastards just like adults can.

Olivia has about ten kids in creche that she regularly plays with. The staff there tell us that she and four other kids are a little gang unto themselves. If those four kids showed up and nobody else I’d be delighted, because it means that my fears are unfounded.

But if we go and invite them and they say they will come, then don’t show up….oh boy. Short of a valid death cert to get them out of attending, I will make it my personal mission to show up to each and every one of their next birthday parts and shit in their birthday cake.

Because, while I may be a panicky parent I am also a parent who is more than willing to teach any kid that hurts my little one’s feelings that the world can suck from an early, possibly insane, age.

– Derek

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