Saturday, April 2, 2011

You Say It's Your Birthday

I know all my readers think we live some sort of fabulous, glamorous life, like a real life version of Sex and the City, so I hate to burst your champagne bubble and tell you that the only party we went to this weekend was a three year-old’s birthday.  Not that there wasn’t alcohol (with a house full of children, clearly that’s a must) – but my days of partying like it’s 1999 ended in, well, 1999.

Besides, if you’ve been reading this blog at all, you know a family event can be fairly amusing – particularly with my family – though I’m sorry to inform you that our story does not end with someone leaving in tears, in an ambulance, or with a lesbian.

There’s a first time for everything.

Anyhow, Neil and I arrived in the burbs  shortly after 2pm on Sunday – which always requires readjustment for us.  When the company includes – indeed, is dominated by, grandparents and children – the event usually forces me to surrender brunch and dinner to some sort of hybrid Frankenmeal served around 4:30pm.  Or – as I like to call it – Happy Hour. 

Thus, we generally arrive just as I’m about to pass out from hunger, and eagerly scarf down a glass of wine and some baby carrots.  Apparently, having a houseful of children means all your food must be petite, precious, and aptly named.

I found my mother perched on her usual kitchen stool, merrily slurping down a glass of white wine and not helping.  This continues a decades long tradition of my mother and sister arriving at each other’s homes and behaving like a guest – much to their mutual chagrin.  My stepfather was in his usual position, pacing behind her, and if he weren’t bald when they married six short months ago, he would be by now. 

My dad, meanwhile, was the designated photographer, and was skittering around the house snapping photos of the kids.  His partner was sitting off to the side looking miserable and thinking about how soon they could leave without being rude.

Moving swiftly from kitchen to table and back again, my sister was putting out food while my brother-in-law served drinks, and together they greeted their guests – many of whom were friends from their neighborhood, or old friends from their respective childhoods.  It’s so weird to me – Neil and I each only stay in touch with a handful of people we’ve known since high school or college, and many of them live far from New York.  However, my sister and brother-in-law still hang with people they’ve known for years – and I see how that shared history can be comforting – which always strikes as being like a scene out of some Ben Affleck movie set in Boston.  Except, instead of everyone working construction in Southie, they all work in finance or do pilates and drive around in SUVs the size of Rhode Island.

Meanwhile, my nieces and nephews are growing up so quickly it’s amazing.  The eldest is finally past the shy stage and marched right up to me, gave me a hug, and told me about her new Justin Bieber poster.  It’s nice to see that – though not yet seven years old – she already understands our family tradition of women falling in love with gay men.  Soon she’ll be drinking Scotch in the Village and looking for her second husband.

She was also wearing a royal blue sleeveless sequined dress, an outfit that was only missing backup singers.

Her sister managed to make it through the afternoon without shedding blood – her own or that of another child – which was reason enough for celebration. 

The birthday boy seemed oblivious to the fact that all the attention was for him – which is a personality trait I cannot relate to at all.  He was just happy that there was a Thomas the Train cake and a clown.

Oh yes – the clown.  Two, actually.  One surly guy who looked more like a caricature of a hobo than a clown.  He blew up balloons, mostly in the shape of swords with hilts –though that’s not what they looked like.  One girl put the tip of a "sword" in her mouth and I nearly lost it.  So sweet to see her re-enact the night her parents met.

The other “clown” there was a girl wearing pigtails and a pair of pants with a cowskin print on it.  She did magic, but it was all dime-store stuff.  If she had any real talent she would have been able to make her cameltoe disappear.

If you’re getting the impression it wasn’t a festive event, you’re totally off-base.  It was actually quite amusing – and certainly the high point of a week that also included:

·         Flight delays in both directions, including flying through thunderstorms.

·         Trying to figure out what those stupid talking twins are saying, and why they’re so popular

·         Attempting to get invited to the Royal Wedding, and possibly ending up on Britain’s most wanted list (who knew the Queen was so sensitive about Wall comments on her Facebook page?  Besides, her aura of accessibility totally screams that she wants strangers to call her “Liz” and offer to escort her to the nuptials by offering something stiffer than Prince Philip.

·         Hallucinations that most of the aforementioned actually happened.  Gotta stop hanging out with Charlie Sheen.

Warlock out.

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