Me: What are we doing for Julia’s birthday?
Wife: She wants to have a costume party?
Wife: Where else?
Me: I’m pretty good with anyplace but here.
Wife: It’s a small group of her friends.
Me: It sounds like work.
Wife: It’ll be fun… and not so much work.
The house was spotless, all the leaves bagged, and enough Halloween decorations displayed to make the neighbors question family values. I donned my pirate hat and held the door open for 28 children from the 2nd grade to invade my home on Sunday during the Bears game.
As a parental rite of passage, we all understand party invasion etiquette which constitutes dropping the child at the door, handing over a gift, making small talk while expressing grave sympathy with the eyes, and sprinting away to suck the marrow of life from the next 120 minutes of childless freedom. Yesterday was no exception to the rule except that I was expecting Grenada and blindsided by the storming of the beaches of Normandy.
We navigated from Pin the Smile on the Pumpkin to Pictures of a Monster High back drop to Make your own Taffy Apple to the Mandatory Piñata to Eating Cake to Opening Presents to Rescue Operation behind Enemy Lines or Child Pick-Up. It was a precision operation orchestrated by my wife and our friend Tom who ran games while I worked crowd control. My job was to make sure the sh*t didn't hit the fan or in this case the cookie dough ice cream cake or caramel taffy apple wrapping.
The kids were great, I kept my cool, and we didn't get any surprises in the couch cushions! Dad didn’t embarrass himself, his daughter, and did not once mention that he was missing the Bears game. My daughter had a wonderful time and I’m pretty sure that her friends enjoyed the party as well. The invasion was a success as they left smiling with clutched goody bags to parents who wistfully reminisced about the last 2 hours.
I never watched the Bears game because it was too much fun sharing the day with my daughter. We watched a movie, ate dinner, read stories, and went to bed early. It was a perfect day. On the other hand, it’s a shame that the boy was born in January during the play-offs. We all have to make sacrifices.