Yes, yes I am. And I will tell you why. Last Monday was Monster's birthday. She turned nine. Now, I love my Monster with everything that I am, you know that. And I had every single best intention in the world to give my daughter a birthday party -- because -- she's only had one. Her first birthday. Due to reasons too numerous to mention, and sometimes beyond my control, I have never given my daughter a birthday party.
Anyway, as I was saying, I had every single best intention in the world to give Monster a "smallish" birthday party* this year. We were on Thanksgiving break from school, her birthday happened to fall on the Monday we returned to school. It was only going to be my parents, but they don't ever come to our house, so I thought I would have it at my house. (Since we moved down here, I have only hosted one Thanksgiving. My parents hold every holiday at their house. Including Monster's birthday parties.)
Thanksgiving week I worked on THE CAPTAIN'S COINCIDENCE. All week. 12 hours a day. Every day. If I wasn't writing, I was researching, or editing, or proofing, or something. I had an internal deadline and I hadn't worked on it all together in a long time. I neglected the house, the dogs, my parents, my daughter, the laundry. On Thanksgiving day, I took a break for four hours and celebrated the turkey. Then I went back to my computer. (Some people take the whole month to do NaNo. Thanksgiving week is my own personal hell.)
On Sunday I stopped writing and cleaned my house. It took all day. I then went to the market and picked up donuts for the class party the next morning and a cake mix so I could bake the cake.
Monday I had nothing to do at school except sell gift cards until 8:30, so I had all day to finish the laundry, set the dining room table, bake the cake, hang the Happy Birthday sign (from her first birthday party and a tradition), and wrap her presents that I had hidden in the kitchen cupboard.
Monday morning at school, selling gift cards, I realized there were two cards missing. $100- gift cards. I spent all day Monday at school looking for these cards. (Plus there were three other discrepancies in the "book" I had to figure out. It's just a matter of matching names to numbers to checks, but it's a lot of paperwork to go through.**)
Due to the gravity of the situation, (which it wasn't that grave, but needed to be investigated ASAP) I was on the computer as soon as I walked through the door, scrolling through family lists and gift card orders. It shouldn't be that hard to find the discrepancy. Needless to say, I didn't bake the cake or hang the sign.
Monster went down to my parents' house as soon as she got home to do her homework. At 6:30, I get a phone call from my mother that my father went to get Monster a cake and was I coming down? Where did 2 1/2 hours go? I grabbed the Happy Birthday sign and put it on the counter. The cat wanted to go out. I let her out and then came back in to grab my coat and keys. Then I went down to my parents.
We had the birthday blowing of candles and singing while my mother was on the phone with my sister-in-law. We opened presents while my mother was on the phone with my sister-in-law. We ate cake with whipped cream while my mother was on the phone with my sister-in-law. And then we left and my mother was still on the phone with my sister-in-law.
During the ten second drive from their house, Monster asked, "Why can't I have a birthday party at the roller skating rink like my friends did?" (There are five kids in her class who have birthdays in November so they all celebrate together. Last year they went to the trampoline park. Another year they had it at the little zoo in Greensboro. This year was a roller skating party. How am I supposed to compete with that?)
Stepping into the kitchen, I see the Happy Birthday sign on the counter. *face palm*
Monster went into the other room. "What's all this stuff from Target?"
I had forgotten I had taken the gifts out from their hiding place and put them on the ottoman to wrap. *face palm*
So I said, "Those are your birthday presents." I could hear the rustling of the bags. And then, "Can you help me, I can't get the knot out." I walked into the other room to hang up my coat. I said, "No, you have to work for them. This isn't like Puppa and Yo-yo's where you just tear the paper and crumple it up. Do you know how many trees gave their lives for all the paper you just ripped up? Well, we're not slaughtering trees in this house. You have to work for your presents." You should have seen the look she gave me.
Ah, but when she finally opened them...I am the BEST Mommy in the Whole World. Who knew two dolls and a t-shirt would bring that kind of smile?
Tell me -- What does it take for you to be the hero/heroine in your life story?
Anne Gallagher (c) 2013
* I have been thinking that I might have a little celebratory "tea and cakes" for Monster and a few of the mommies and their daughters over the holiday break. A refined and genteel afternoon.
** I didn't find the missing gift cards until Wednesday after Diane went through the books again. Guess whose fault it was they were missing? Mine. All that freaking drama for a three second mistake. Yes, I have since taken myself off the list of people who can sign out gift cards.