Sane Mothers Just Take ‘Em Bowling (But Who Said Anything About Sanity?)

Add this to the list of titles that should come with parenthood: glutton for punishment.

My kid went to a perfectly lovely birthday party at Callicoon’s Kristal Bowl last week – her second of the school year, I might add. And by lovely, I do mean everything that puts stars in the eyes of a 6-year-old.

There was noise, there was cake, there was a place willing to give way to a bunch of boisterous 6- and 7-year-old because they actually understand childhood.

And it being a business, not a home, this party spot had everything that puts stars in the eyes of a parent: you leave, they clean up, you go home and relax (and did I mention they also have booze?).

So why, in the name of all that is holy, did I tell my daughter that we probably won’t be having a bowling birthday of our own?

She left there happy as a clam. I dream of birthday parties that are no muss, no fuss. I even drop by the Krystal Bowl on occasion myself – with the kid and without. So it’s not the place.

I have become a party monster. I need to make the cake – even if it means rolling out Starburst into little doggie tongues at 2 in the morning. I have to control the atmosphere – aka, clean my house from top to bottom and pray that the dog and kid don’t undo my hard work before the first guest arrives to bear witness to the rare order and organization. And I have to go big. What’s a party without all my friends and their little monkeys, an army’s worth of my grandma’s macaroni salad and the threat of rain hanging over our heads to drive my stress level through the roof?

I’d tell you, but I don’t know exactly. I’ve never thrown a normal birthday party. I don’t know how. Dr. Freud would probably say that biting off more than I can chew on the birthday betrays my working mom guilt or some other malarkey. Overcompensating for the fact that I make her eat whole wheat bread and organic peanut butter sandwiches for lunch maybe? Zeroing out my refusal to get her a pony (I’m in debt to the town for ensuring it remains illegal to keep one in my backyard … but y’all may want to steer clear of one cranky 6-year-old!)?

Nah. I’m just a glutton for punishment. But I’m working on it. Perhaps we’ll go bowling next year?

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