I regret being a birthday party fuckwit. Evidently this can happen to anyone with a vagina and a child under seven. Why? Because we’re chronically exhausted and haven’t figured out our place on the maternal spectrum yet. We want our children to think we’re heroes, and for other mothers to think we’re perfect. We’re at the height of our delusion. The good news is kids grow up, and so do moms.
Walk with me.
When Anna was turning seven, I thought an Eloise party would be the best birthday in the history of EVER. If you’re not familiar with Eloise, she’s a rambunctious child who lives in the penthouse of The Plaza in NYC with her English nanny who spoils her because Eloise’s mother spends the majority of her time avoiding the inconvenience of parenting by shopping in Paris and screwing her divorce lawyer. I made that last part up. I don’t know who Eloise’s mom is dating. I just know that her daughter has a blast terrorizing the hotel staff, and ordering room service at will, shouting “charge it please!” before she hangs up without a proper salutation.
We were reading that particular series of books at the time, I was dumber than I am now, so naturally I became convinced an Eloise sleepover birthday party at the Ritz Carlton would be perfect. We booked one sleeping room with two double beds, and I congratulated myself on embarking on the best birthday party ever. But not before calling the Eloise store located in the lobby of The Plaza in NYC to order official Eloise paraphernalia for the goody bags…
Our daughter, the pretend hotel-dwelling princess, chose an actual WEDDING cake for her birthday party.And I actually bought it.
Shhhhh let me finish the story.
In a perfect world I would have been severely punished for all of this nonsense. Instead, when we checked into the hotel on the day of the party, the tuxedoed fellow behind the counter winked at me and said we’d been “upgraded.”
I imagined a slightly larger bathroom.
He delivered us here:
I looked at him and thought, “Oh…there must be some HUGE mistake,” but what came out of my mouth was a casual, “Oh, well thank you so much – I’m sure this will be fine.”
He opened the double doors and waltzed us into a vision of hotel glory I had only seen in movies.
I was simultaneously at home AND ashamed. On the one hand I was like: formal foyer with marble floors, giant living room (probably called a Grande Salon or something), its very own oval office, a banquet table for 12, floor to ceiling windows overlooking the city, and a master bedroom with a spa bathroom. Duh. Send for my things. Then he showed us the special service area with a separate entrance because rich people don’t like to see the help, and my skin crawled a little bit.
That’s probably why I accidentally broke one of their fantzy ceramic birds within 11 minutes.
Under normal circumstances I’d be the first person to shout, “Oh mah lored y’all somebody call the front desk I broke sumthin!” – because I stay in normal hotels where anything you break can be paid for with one paycheck.
In this case I shouted, “Oh mah lored DOES ANYBODY HAVE ANY SUPERGLUE????”
Yes, I picked up the broken pieces of that precious artwork, super-glued it back together, and politely hid it in a cabinet with the other million-dollar art birds. I’m sorry, Ritz Carlton.
The rest of the day/evening looked like this:
Calling room service to order ice cream sundaes, and ending the call with the requisite, “charge it please!”
And watching the Eloise movie in their jammies.
Clearly the next morning Anna needed to relax and have a snack before we checked out…
Best birthday party ever right?
Hours spent planning/preparing: Forever
Outcome: Two years later she said, “That was my worst birthday party ever,” complete with an eye roll.
Oh yes she did.
Since then the parties have become less extravagant with each passing year.
Cut to her last birthday party.
Four favorite friends, Publix cake, movies, and sleepover. Done.
Hours planning/preparing: 12 minutes
Outcome: Totally happy child – “best birthday party ever!”
No I’m not kidding. She said that with her mouth. On purpose, to my face.
Takeaway: If there was a Birthday Party Yoda, he would tell us this:
“Spend money you must not. Stupid you are.”
If you want advice from me, I’ll leave you with this nugget:
Save your money y’all, because kids don’t give a shit about expensive parties. True Story.
Have you planned or attended a ridiculously outrageous birthday party? Do you want to punch yourself, or the people who planned it? Do you love Yoda?