There May Be No Tears in Baseball, But There Are at Little Girl Parties
My daughter hurtled past a new life threshold this week -- a birthday party with little girls who were not all my friends' children just thrown into a bouncy castle in the backyard. This time, a gaggle of schoolgirls descended onto my house, with one very overwhelmed little brother.
The first hurdle was with the invitations. "Was this still a thing?" I debated as we rushed to the dollar store; however, I realized that this was where I would be doing all my card shopping in the future. In a strange twist, I'm not a big fan of greeting cards. The pressure feels intense. How do you put your sincere love, or even just appreciation to another kiddo's parents for inviting your kids to Peter Pizza, into words?
Also, there is no greeting card worth seven or eight dollars. I'm looking at you, Target.
I asked my daughter, whose birthday fell in the middle of the week, if she wanted to maybe wait until the weekend for her party. Unfortunately, she can now read both the time and the calendar, and really, who wants to wait a whole five days? It's understandable, but it may have been a mistake. For one, party prep, cleaning and working at home are not as easy as the Pinterest motivational lists describe them to be.
Sure, a load of laundry can happen, but debating how much can be put away versus how much can be thrown onto a bed in the master bedroom diminishes the little willpower of decision-making that should be best saved for other party needs, like switching from giving an impromptu girl-power pep talk one moment to the next moment being the Adult with Authority, the one who has to make hard decisions.
As each girl was dropped off, I spoke to the parents over the squeals. More than one parent commented about my fortitude in hosting this party. I waved it off because who hasn't had a gaggle of sugared-up kids in a bouncy castle? Now I understand that many have not. But for the party, I would have the help of my husband and a stellar friend-couple whose daughters got an invite due to the birthday girl taking pity on her brother's social needs.
I realized something else as the parents drove away. I was being handed a very overwhelming responsibility, the trust of my community to take care of their daughters. It came with the adult decision: Masked or unmasked party?
The number of COVID-19 cases in our area was growing again, but all the girls -- except for two -- knew one another from class. Did we really need to mask up? I had doubts, then I had anger. We could have been done with this.
It was a quick question from the first girl and a split-second realization that I had to retain the trust I had shown my community for almost two years. Their families didn't know me, my husband or my friends and their kids.
The masks didn't diminish the fun, or how quickly the girls showed the dynamic of the group. There were the peacemakers. There were the defenders. There were the ones whose voices cut through to ask for what they wanted.
And there was me, tapped in as the mom in the ring, blessed to hand out snacks, cut the cake, get an ice pack and tell one or two girls who cried about a perceived slight that their heart was in the right place. It was okay to feel her emotions, just like I had told myself. But then I'd point up to her friends, nervously waiting in the hallway for their friend, and remind her about her community.
Cassie McClure is a writer, millennial, and unapologetic fan of the Oxford comma. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Cassie McClure and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate Inc.