You know how much I enjoy parties. Heck, I had 3 of them this summer alone. Four if you count the dozen or so friends who had barbecue with us after the garage sale last weekend. I've become much better at keeping things pretty simple, finessing simple salad recipes, not spending 3 days cleaning my house for a 2 hour party.
During one of the summer street fairs, the girls and I visited the pottery/ Asian Arts center on Main Street. We toured the pottery studio, peeked in at the dance floor, and Lauren danced as they played their drums. The proprietress told me that they had birthday parties there, where the kids would paint figurines, enjoy a brought-in birthday cake, and then finish off the afternoon by playing drums and dancing around on their dance floor. About 6 weeks ago, I came back, was regaled with the same party scenario a second time, and paid my $50 deposit. "You can bring in any food and drink you'd like," she said. "And we just charge per piece, so about $15 per child."
So we ordered Lauren a Carvel Ice Cream Princess cake, and bought wine, cheese, crackers, and fruit. I had invited all the parents, figuring we would relax with snacks while someone else ran the show.
When we arrived, 15 minutes before party time, no one there knew we were supposed to be there. The woman working the pottery studio called Song, who was supposed to be our instructor. "She's about a half hour away."
So, Karen, Chris, and I set up our snacks, and I thought, well, 15 minutes late isn't too horrible. There was a Rutgers game yesterday at 3 and it was possible she was in traffic.
At 20 minutes past, the kids were restless. I went upstairs and selected pieces for all the kids. I realized Song was upstairs doing paperwork. "The kids are waiting..." I said. "I think we need to get started before they start running around the studio..."
She said, "Oh ok, I just got in, sorry. I will be right down."
She came down and began setting up paints and palettes for the kids, and passed out brushes. We parents hung back with our wine as the kids happily painted. About 20 minutes later, they were done and restless again, Song was nowhere to be found. We moved our pieces, cleared the palates, brushes, and paints, washed the kids up, and had Lauren start opening presents. Alec prepared the cake.
After cake, Song was still nowhere to be found. The kids were full of sugar and ready to run around. Alec and I looked at each other, weighing our options.
"I think we should just clean up and leave."
"I can't believe this." Alec said. "What was supposed to happen?"
I sighed. "This was the worst birthday party ever." I blinked away tears. But as I looked around, the kids seemed pretty happy. They'd painted stuff and eaten ice cream cake. As far as they were concerned, this had been a tremendous success.