I didn’t get a birthday party every year when I was growing up. Birthdays tend to be celebrated at home, with my small family and a cake. But I clearly remember my 7th birthday party. It was the first party I’ve ever had where I was allowed to invite my friends. MY friends!
Now, I don’t remember all the details about this party. I can’t remember who all came (for crying out loud, that was almost 30 years ago). I don’t remember my cake, or if I even had a cake. I can’t remember what we ate or what games we played. I can’t remember what I wore (although I am 100% sure it wasn’t some girlie outfit with lace or sequins).
I was on such a high. My first REAL party, with MY friends, at MY place!
I’ve only ever seen birthday parties on TV. And now I’m going to have my own party. I couldn’t believe it. I was all grown up to “host” a party. I think the thought of me being the center of attention had my head spinning the whole time.
What I do remember, is this boy named Charles. Was his name really Charles? Actually I’m not all that sure. But anyway, let’s called him Charles. Charles was in my grade. His parents and my parents happen to be friends. I think Charles came to my party because our parents are friends, not because Charles and I are friends.
I was (am?) a tomboy. Though I can’t remember what games we played, I’m sure we didn’t play any Barbies or house type games at my party. No. It would have been some sort of kung fu or sword fighting games. It would have been something that involved physical pain being inflicted back and forth, with a very compelling story line of how the fight was necessary to save the world from being completely obliterated. It was MY party, and I was the superhero who was going to save the universe and free us all from evil…
…Because that would be the only reasonable explanation of why I kicked Charles right in the middle of his back. He fell on the floor and started crying.
Now, just give me a second to explain myself. Charles is this kid who isn’t really MY friend. He was a little chubby, kind of whiney, with fair and perfect skin like a girl. So it was obvious to me that he was crying to get attention. There was no way that I kicked him THAT hard to make him cry. Wasn’t that obvious to everyone else? Besides, if he kept crying, an adult will hear it and I would be in trouble…
…So I told him to shut up.
Then my mother walked in just as I was telling him to shut up. My mother, the proper girlie girl, heard me tell her friend’s child to shut up after I’ve kicked him.
I can’t remember what else happened at the party, or how the day ended, or what presents I got. For the first birthday party I was allowed to have, allowed to invite my friends, allowed to feel like a grown-up, the thing I remembered the most is my mother making me apologize to Charles. I apologized half-heartedly. How unfair! It was my birthday party, and I had to say sorry to this sissy in front of all my friends!! I was humiliated.
I didn’t have another birthday party for many years. Maybe my parents felt that it was too much hassle to put on parties. Anyway, that was ancient history. I hope my parents are proud of me today; I haven’t kicked anyone at my birthday parties ever since.