On Saturday it was my daughter’s birthday party. Once again, it was held at granny’s house – because she has the biggest pool! I feel I deserve a pat on the back, along with everyone else who banded together to make the day as much fun as possible for the girl-child.
Last year was dismal and depressing to say the least. The EX didn’t even invite his then new girlfriend (even though I fully expected her to be there) and nerves were still pretty frayed and raw. The other children’s parents didn’t know how to deal with the fact that we were now split up and it was a rather uncomfortable affair. (I trust the kids didn’t pick up on it!).
The year before that, although things had already been falling apart between us for a while, we were still living in the same house and very few people knew how precariously I was hanging on to my sanity! I remember the day vaguely, but most of it is packed away with the rest of the trauma from 2017.
I baked cakes in 2017 and 2018 and thought this year we should do something a little different – so I bought (at great expense!) an ice-cream cake. (I had always wanted one as a child, but it was never quite warm enough on my autumn birthday; I finally got one at age 21!) I thought it would be a nice treat and change. So after work, before picking up the children I had to pick up said cake and drop it back off at home, seeing as it would melt in the very seasonable heat wave. This just added more angst to an already rushed Friday afternoon – I had not taken into account that it would be friggin “Black Friday” when I ordered the damn cake, and I would have to walk into a shopping mall! As a general rule, I avoid places of mass consumption on this demonic day of trade!
But woe betide the mother who tries to do something nice…
Upon telling the girl-child that she was getting an ice cream cake she promptly burst into tears while getting into the car at aftercare. The deluge of tears didn’t stop until long after we stopped at home and I had been thoroughly rebuked. She didn’t want an ice cream cake. She wants a chocolate cake! I had better go shopping and buy a cake because she wasn’t going to eat the ice cream! It had been a really rough week and I just didn’t have the emotional capacity to respond. When she was cried out, she asked to see the cake. I showed it to her and she was placated because she “didn’t realise that an ice cream cake wasn’t just a blob of white ice cream”! Phew! That was one small crisis averted!
We bundled everyone into the car early morning – brother, sister and unsuspecting new boyfriend whom I never gave a choice in whether he was going or not. Luckily kids are easily motivated to get out of bed when there is a party involved at granny’s house!
There was a slight mad rush to get everything done before the guests would arrive, but for the most part, EX and his now-not-so-new-anymore-girlfriend (we shall call her “D”) had put up all decorations and set tables and things. She even made a whole lot of decorations with her daughter. Mostly, there were a few snacks that had to be completed. Even the cake arrived in one piece!
The children were in the water even before their friends arrived and I left the BF to his own devices, hoping he would find something to keep himself occupied, which he duly did by appointing himself life guard at the poolside.
Guests soon started arriving, and with it being much the same bunch as previous years, everyone knew where to go and what to do. Kids headed straight into the pool in any case. The atmosphere (to me at least) was much more relaxed and if people did still feel strange around our blended family, no-one let it show. A number of them had been allocated to the EX in the divorce in any case and have spent enough time with D to feel comfortable with them as a new couple.
So, we all partied together and chatted away like there was nothing unusual to the whole situation. I even found D and BF chatting away at some point, although I suspect he was trying to hide from the noise, never having had children of his own. He did go off mid-party, after having consumed rather vast amounts of mother-outlaw’s famous peppermint crisp tart, in search of some beer and managed to get lost – that’s his story, anyway. I suspect he didn’t mind not finding his way back too quickly!
Either way, he did well. He managed to keep it all together nicely for someone who was thrown in the deep end of having children by acquiring an instant family with two half-grown children. Apparently if I were to tell his former friends and family that he had attended a kiddie-party (SOBER, at that!) they wouldn’t believe it! I’m proud of the guy!
And I’m grateful to D and the EX and the OUtlaws who all banded together to make it a wonderful day for my baby girl. We all deserve a pat on the back for managing to let bygones be bygones and try to get along for the sake of the children! We have taken a terrible situation and made the best of it.
Thanks everyone, the day left me feeling all warm&fuzzy and ready for the silly season! Next year we can all do Christmas dinner together…