Writer’s note: I wrote this not to advocate any position, or to say anything in particular. It’s simply a collection of observations, stories, hushed chats and whispers. There’s stories in here that aren’t my own, and it’s certainly not my intention to sound like I’m advocating a position. It’s in a minor key, it’s a bundle of observations and a collection of mumbles.
Bekka’s turning 18, coming of age, party at mum and dads. Scotty spins the tunes and dad throws up the fairy lights, mum caters to fill teenage stomachs – it’ll come up in the front paddock in a few hours anyway.
Mason’s got a new truck, lifted with an LED bar light to be seen from space. He’s the first to arrive at this festive event, and his country dimples cover valleys of insecurity. Cowboy hat bent at the front, ma and pa secretly hope he’d turn his eyes towards their Bek – if only they knew.
Stace, Maria and Bree tumble out of someone’s back seat, pre-loaded. Dressed to the nines, their heels sink into soft country soil, squealing with each squelch, their lives work to snob you off.
Jase makes an entrance, circle work in his beat up ute. The joker, always the laugh. Bekka’s beau, the half bottle of cheap bourbon held by it’s neck. He’s the joker, but she’s got a creeping suspicion the joke’s on him. 20 years old, on the same an hour, with no prospects of increase.
Family comes, smiles abound. Uncle Frank and Aunt Nina, there’s grandma and gramps. Cousins of all ages. Dad playfully grabs Danny in a headlock, trying to explain that his sodomite son is merely creative, like you can try to explain the gay away. Thanks dad, but they both grieve, unable to move past recent revelations.
Raye and Chrissy sit in the tray of Mason’s ute, necking cheap vodka straight from the bottle. He could have both in a heartbeat, but his sights are set on other targets, perhaps tonight he’ll pipe up the confidence to tell her.
Dwayne sings along to the country ditties, he’s unusually talented that way. Laughing off the compliments, he wonders how life might be different if not yoked with three generations of expectation breathing down his neck. Still, he hums along, wondering, even for a second, if things were different.
Kal, as everyone agrees, is classic wife material, the mother hen of the group. She chats CWA with mum, half an eye on Danny, blissfully unaware he’ll make no woman honest. She mistakes his compliments for flirting, and the thought crosses his mind that perhaps he could fake it, until he made it.
Speeches, and mum and dad praise their perfect Bekka. She spies Jase, he’s getting amorous with Raye, and way too close to his bourbon. She pats her tummy – a week late, and she wonders how daddy will react if she breaks the news to him.
And the party continues, and the fire crackles. They all continue to live their lives together, all in secret.
Picture from https://www.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lovethispic.com%2Fuploaded_images%2F108685-Bonfire-Party.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lovethispic.com%2Fimage%2F108685%2Fbonfire-party&docid=2BomfXY3f8L2kM&tbnid=ahC-QHXakHIw-M%3A&vet=1&w=500&h=332&bih=708&biw=1517&q=teenagers%20party%20bonfire&ved=0ahUKEwiY4ePVj7_SAhVrrFQKHcKHDpgQMwhFKCMwIw&iact=mrc&uact=8#h=332&imgrc=ahC-QHXakHIw-M:&vet=1&w=500
It’s been proven by social scientists and humanities professors that the simple child’s party has been hijacked by what could be best described as ‘dedicated mothers’. Yes, this group of middle-class white mothers have totally taken over the whole shebang of planning and executing their children’s parties. From the cake to personalised invitations (including a ‘save the date’ email’), scouring the internet for matching tablecloth, plates, serviettes and piñatas, the ‘dedicated mothers’ movement’ has ensured the suburban birthday party yet another thing that the modern sisterhood utilises in her artillery against fellow females.
Whilst they would adamantly disagree with the above paragraph, they will comment joyfully on the beautifully colour co-ordinated dessert table and three-tired cake and effortlessly organised party games, the ‘dedicated modern mother’ and secretly compare herself to the other mums in her school-mum group.
You have probably heard about the ballooning children’s party industry – jumping castles, clowns, petting zoos, fairy floss and a liturgical list of food allergens to avoid. It really is too much for the modern dad! And who’s to blame? Dedicated mothers. That’s who.
Now I know what you’re thinking. This is a blog about dads and children’s parties. So where to from here?
My best advice for dad’s, when it comes to children’s parties is to stay away. Failing that, under compulsion from your beautiful lady friend or well-behaved children, here’s some advice for dad’s, when coming to children’s parties, in no particular order:
– Whilst the dedicated mother is often said to do it for the children, you’ll find the doting husband of the hostess will have a medium to large stash of liquor hidden and is aching for an opportunity to crack it open. Now, the doting husband will be waiting for the code words from one of the dad-guests for an excuse to crack open said stash. The code-word? ‘This party business is thirsty work’! With that simple, yet time honoured phrase, the keys to the bar-fridge will be unlocked and cheer will flow.
– Piñatas. Don’t ever volunteer to hold the piñata. Don’t ever volunteer to co-ordinate the piñata. Stay away from the piñata, dads. Even if you’ve had the desired number of children, please, stay away from the piñata.
– The Birthday BBQ. Many man-hosts will have a BBQ going during a children’s party. This is an excellent place to both drop the ‘thirsty work’ comment, and, find refuge from children and judgemental womanfolk eyes. In fact, your special lady friend will be happy that you have found a fraternity of longsuffering husbands and know that, at worst, she’ll have to drive not just the kids, but you home too.
– An outdoor TV. Many modern households have some type of outdoor TV set up. Whilst the host will be too polite to say, he is waiting for the magic words ‘What’s the score?‘ for an excuse and turn on Channel 9’s comprehensive coverage of summer cricket. This not only gives you a chance to enjoy a beer and be away from hyped up children, it will give you some much-deserved peace and quiet while you and the men-folk comment benignly on the cricket.
– Manners. Ensure to tell the hostess that she has well and truly excelled herself and take lots of photos for your wife’s facebook. The dedicated mother likes nothing more for her creations to be plastered all over facebook with a stream of comments praising the mothers creativity, resourcefulness and adherence to a gluten/nut/dairy/sugar/wheat diet so all the children can have fun.
Fella’s I’m interested in your ideas. How do you survive children’s parties?
Dear Parents (and children) who attended Zoe’s wonderful party yesterday,
Thank you all for making the afternoon a success!
On the whole, everyone had a great time, especially Zoe. There is, however, an issue that has been raised with me. An issue that I know we can all resolve with poise and respect, as I know you all will do.
I know that many of you are upstanding, Christian people and citizens of high morals. I certainly did not anticipate the reaction that the ‘vodka strawberry creams’ would have. It certainly was not my intention to deliberately mislead any of you, nor did I expect anyone to consume more than three of the delicious bite-sized treats.
I have fielded some calls from concerned parents notifying that their children appeared tipsy, or even slightly drunk, after the party. For those children who ate more than ten of the special strawberries, this is highly possible. I need to point out, however, the responsibility that you, the parents also had in this situation. By allowing your children to consume more than ten of anything at a party or social event does garner the question of your child’s ability to control themselves when presented with treats.
On the positive side, many of these parents did report that the affected children did have a solid nights sleep, going down just after dinner and having a restful night.
Again, if your children, or you yourself did consume an excess amount of the (clearly labelled) ‘vodka strawberry creams’ and had adverse affects, I do apologise without reservation. One wife relayed to me that her husband consumed in excess of 15 such treats and was unable to go to work that evening.
In retrospect, I should have avoided alcohol after that incident at Eli’s party involving the ‘pirate rum balls’.
Apart from that, Zoe had a wonderful time and enjoyed everyone’s company. I trust that you and your children also had a great time at the party.