It’s Her Party But I Cried Cuz I Wanted To

I survived Hadley’s sixth birthday party. Barely.

I decided to forgo a home-based bash and rented out the local sports center in an effort to reduce my stress level.

Oh, how delusional I was.

I am no stranger to event crisis management. I worked as a publicist for many years and was in charge of a huge celebration for Salt Lake City’s symphony hall. At the last minute, the symphony pulled out due to contract disputes. You know: the guests of honor. In a pinch, I got the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir to perform.

A wee bit nerve-wracking?

Hosting a party and entertaining 25 kids at an alternative venue was exponentially more ulcer-inducing.

I had rented out the gymnastics hall for an hour and then planned to take the kids to the adjacent park outside to eat cake and play games. The first glitch came immediately upon arrival when the normally vacant lawn area was flooded with beer-drinking, boom-box-toting revelers.

That was freak-out No. 1.

For those who want to keep track, just know this is the last time I will attempt to enumerate them all.

I sent my husband on a mission to find an alternate venue and he ascertained the east playground was the next best alternative.

We turned our attentions to chaperoning the kids in the gym. I’ll admit I expected them to play tag, cautiously inch across the balance beam and sing Kumbaya. What I did not anticipate: kids launching off the high bar. Scaling the rope swing to the ceiling. Attempting back flips off the vault.

If that was not enough cause for concern, the outside partiers descended upon our space to use the bathroom. A drunken woman even offered to escort one of the kids. That was just prior to the strange boy who wandered in and started playing at the party.

I think he has a future as a “Wedding Crasher.”

I was relieved when we moved outside. Jamie and his sister Lisa had transitioned the presents to the pavilion. When Lisa went back inside to grab her purse a few minutes later, the staffer at the Garrison Street Center had already locked up for the evening.

As we dealt with that fiasco, a few helpful parents and I juggled the 25 kids. When it came time to sing “Happy Birthday,” I realized I was on the wrong side of the picnic table to photograph Hadley blowing out the candles. I raced around the pavilion and as I was passing the end of the picnic table, my purse strap got caught and yanked me back.

Think My Big Fat Greek Wedding when Toula’s headset caused her demise at the travel agency.

I barely made it in time to capture one quick photograph of Hadley with the cake. I chalked it up to just another day living my Murphy’s Law. Really, the worst thing that happened was when I thought I lost one of the children.

Though when you think of it, 1 out of 25 ain’t bad.

Other Posts