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The Surprise Party

The Stuff they Don't Warn Parents About

By Sarah GlassPublished 2 months ago 6 min read
Top Story - March 2024
22
The Surprise Party
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

You know how your parents say, "I hope you have a kid just like you someday!"

On February 21, 2024, our oldest child, Ava, did something so out-of-pocket, as the new saying goes, that it had Tony, my husband, and I staring at one another from across the table at 6 pm wondering, "Where's the child who was supposed to be just like us."

Let's start at the beginning.

We have three children who are two years apart but with birthdays that land a month after the other. Ava, who turned nine on February 16, Ivanna, who turns seven on March 5th, and Ozzy, who turns five on April 16. Naturally, as the sane parents that we are, we hold a big birthday party for all three of them in April when the weather is a little more favorable.

We've been doing this pretty much since Ozzy was born. The kids love it, family and friends love it, and it's less stressful for us. So, for Ava's birthday, she decided to make a pretty picture for each student in her class.

I was so proud of her for committing, on her own, to making 21 pictures back in January so she had enough time to finish them before her birthday. Definitely a skill she inherited from her father, I might add. I'm the procrastinator in the family.

Her birthday came and went, all her friends loved her drawings, and the week carried on, which brings me to February 21st. Ava and Ivanna typically attend an after school program to get extra help in the areas they're struggling in. On the 21st, however, Ava had an orthodontist appointment at 2:10, and because Ozzy was in pre-k until 2 pm, I went ahead and picked him up too.

Everything was going well. Too well, one might say.

Ava did great at her orthodontist appointment and was super excited about getting braces. As someone who grew up with braces, I'm excited for her too! We come home, chill out, Tony comes home, and it's time for me to go pick up my sweet middle child, Ivanna.

We live three minutes away from the school, so at 4:50 something, I leave the house. And it was upon our short journey through the pothole-ridden side streets to our house that things got interesting. A car with its hazard lights flashing was parked on the side of the road next to our driveway.

Like any normal introvert, I thought to myself, "Okay...what is this person doing? Why are they here? Who are they? I'll just drive into our driveway and ignore them."

I slowed down as I passed them and saw a woman in the driver's seat. She looked right at me and rolled down her window. So, like any normal people pleaser, I stopped and did the same.

"Are you Ava's mom?" She asked, and she seemed worried based on how she looked at me.

"Yeah," I started to say, getting a little worried myself.

She smiled with relief. "Oh, good! We're here for the birthday party!"

Now I'm going to stop here for a moment as I must tell you how truly baffled, confused, scared, shocked, and rattled I was before I very calmly squeaked out an, "Uh, what party?"

She began to tell me about the invitation that her son had received from Ava and how it was handwritten. When I say my brain shorted out after the way it raced...I started to laugh. She laughed. We pulled into the driveway, and she showed me the picture she took of the invitation.

That's when it all clicked. More like, came crashing down on me.

On February 16, she gave out hand drawn pictures for every dear sweet child in her class. All 21 of them. But what I didn't know was that on the back of each of those lovely pictures was Ava's handwritten birthday party invitation to her house.

Despite her almost unreadable number 7 that's in our house number and the nonexistent "avenue" after our street name, this lovely woman, this fellow mom of wild offspring, was able to google map it and find our house!

We both laughed again. While on the inside, I was slightly panicked, I calmly explained I had no idea about this, there was no party, but it was okay with me if it was okay with her that the kids play for a little while since they were already there.

And then the next car showed up.

At this point, reality was really sinking in as I stood there wondering if all 21 of those sweet, dear children from Ava's class were going to show up on our tiny plot of land expecting balloons, cake, drinks, the whole sha-bang! Regardless, my people-pleaser skills came through strong, I masked, I bottled everything true feeling up, and managed to explain the situation with the new surprise guests as well as offered our backyard to their child, too.

Seeing an opportunity, I told the parents I would be right back, that my son Ozzy was inside and would love to play too. Don't ask when Ava came outside all excited; that part is still a blur. As soon as I was inside, I rushed into the kitchen, where Tony was preparing dinner.

"Honey, we're gonna need to have a talk with Ava."

The poor man who had just had a stressful day (and week, no less) at work probably deserved a "honey, I'm gonna need you to sit down for this." Not to mention, he comes from an Italian family, and if you know anything about Italians, they are hospitable, great at hosting, and love to bring more than enough food for people. So when I explained the situation to him, he looked like he was going to pass out.

In my state of confusion, insanity, and slight delusion, I said, "Don't worry, you stay inside. Let me handle this. I'll stay outside with the kids and talk to the parents. I'll take care of everything."

With my borrowed extrovert cap on, I headed back outside just in time for the next guest to arrive whom I also welcomed into our lovely backyard strewn with broken toys and Lord knows what else. But hey, we had an awesome fort Tony and I built a few years ago, and the kids were having a blast!

Thankfully, no one else showed up, and we parents had a grand time laughing and talking about the whole thing. They also thanked me and applauded me for being so calm about it all. One mother said, "Had my son done something like this, I'd have been a panicked mess!"

Bold of these women to assume I was not panicked.

On the contrary, like a wet cat in a room two floors up full of rocking chairs, no one outside knew just how high my anxiety levels had gone. The mask was already up anyway, there was nothing left for me to do other than to laugh the whole thing off and deal with the consequences later. In the end, we ended up getting each other's numbers so that one day, we, the adults, could plan a proper play date.

After about an hour, everyone went home, and once I had my kids inside, Tony and I collectively breathed out the longest breath in history before explaining to Ava why that wasn't okay. Once she understood the reason behind planning birthday parties and what that entailed, we were (and are) 95% certain this won't happen again.

And that, my friends, my fellow people who are also parents, is why...yes...we'd love to have a child who is just like us.

The End.

I hope you enjoyed reading a piece from my life and I hope, if you are a parent reading this, that this helps you avoid this chaotic yet memorable situation for the sake of your own sanity. A.K.A go ahead and have the talk about the importance of party planning with your children.

P.S. I had a lot of fun writing this!

Family
22

About the Creator

Sarah Glass

It started with FFX fanfiction stories and my love for creating a world to escape to when reality's teeth sank in too deep. I'm an artist, a dreamer, and I have an original story I've been working on for 8yrs. Time to get it published!

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Comments (12)

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  • ROCK about a month ago

    Hahaha! I have been behind a few surprises myself yet never the recipient. I think I would have panicked big time. Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    Congrats on TS but more for holding it together!! 🤣🤣🤣

  • A. J. Schoenfeldabout a month ago

    I loved reading this. I was rooting for Ava though. Just a thought, have you considered that Ava is tired of sharing the limelight with her siblings and waiting two months to get to celebrate her birthday? My husband and his siblings all were born the same week and I've listened to them as adults lament that they never got to have the party they wanted because they all had to compromise for each other.

  • Margaret Brennan2 months ago

    omg, I love this. it reminds me of my 9th birthday (haven't thought about that in so many years as I'm now 77). I did that to my parents but at least they had a one-day notice. Thankfully, I only invited 12 people, but still, we didn't have much money and mom had to scramble to give me a party so I wouldn't be embarassed.

  • Anna 2 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Jeremy White2 months ago

    Congrats on top story.

  • Kale Ross2 months ago

    Well-deserved Top Story!

  • LASZLO SLEZAK2 months ago

    Great work

  • Hannah Moore2 months ago

    Hilarious! Bravo on handling it so smoothly!

  • Caroline Craven2 months ago

    Ha! I love Ava! Hilarious she decided to (semi) organise her own party! Great piece!

  • Alivia Varvel2 months ago

    What a sweet story! You have a great child on your hands if she's one to go out of her way to not only invite her entire class but to also give them each a handmade picture and invitation. Hopefully next time she'll give you a heads up 😉

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