Sorry for the hiatus, but I’ve been trying to figure how to turn that which has dominated my life for the past several days–the fact that my 5-year-old daughter Vivian crashed into another kid on a scooter and cracked her teeny tiny collarbone–into a semi-insightful mini-essay on life as a Formerly. You’ll lemme know if this works for you:
Viv has been a trouper. There’s been relatively little drama, which is the way it is when something major happens (as opposed to when, say, one’s sister uses one’s Holly Hobbie toothbrush. In that case, you’d think there had been a stabbing.) She has tolerated the pain admirably, along with the sponge baths and excessive fussing of her mother and grandmothers.
What’s been excruciating for her has been the restriction of her activities. We took her and her twin sister to their friend Maeve’s Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer-themed birthday on Saturday. All of the other reindeer got to do the hokey pokey and play hot potato and freeze tag and all sorts of other reindeer games that one needs a minimum of two arms and the ability to run around to join in.
“This is the WORST party I’ve EVER been to in my ENTIRE LIFE!” she said, sobbing, pleading for me to take her home. (It was actually a really awesome party with a gigantic snow-topped meringue cake and bingo and, most important, wine boxes, and I wanted to stay.)
What I thought but didn’t say in the taxi home (motherhood, of course, being a series of things you think but don’t say): “May that truly be the worst party you ever go to in your entire life.”
Below, some of the worst parties I’ve ever been to in my entire (much longer) life, in chronological order:
1. A pot party I was taken to in Philly when I was 8 or 9 by an older distant cousin who was in charge of me that day. I was wearing a T-shirt my parents had brought me from San Francisco that said boogie in sparkly letters. I loved that shirt. They asked me if I liked disco. I said yes, I guessed so. Everyone liked to dance, didn’t they? Some guy with a Jackson Browne haircut and cystic acne on his neck informed me in no uncertain terms that disco sucked. Then they got stoned. I said nothing for the rest of the day.
2.My best friend and I had a party at my apartment in high school sophomore year that we began planning too early. Word got out to all the schools in the city and soon it wasn’t Stephanie’s party so much as “A Bronx Science party on 97th Street.” More than 200 kids came. Beer bottles went off the 15th floor terrace. Even the police showed up. I cried and said I got good grades, which was true, and that this was my first infraction, which was also true. They didn’t fine me. My dad was quite cool about it (which impressed his girlfriend, and me) and didn’t tell my mom until after I’d had a chance to repair most of the damage. Still, scared me straight.
3.A party at the house of some prep school guy in OP surf shorts and with halitosis I met at Sheep Meadow in Central Park when I was 16. He thought public school girls would do anything and so tried to feel me up in front of his pals. I hit him, which was performance enough for his crew of idiots, who collapsed in heaps of Lacoste shirts and laughter. There was also a teen model there and she was very thin, which made me envious.
4. My prom, at which I was vomited on.
5. A beach-themed frat party at college, at which I was vomited on. At least I didn’t pay for the privilege.
6. The time after college when an old friend invited me to a “video party,” which, since he was a musician, I took to mean a band’s video premiere. It turned out to be two small blond women from Nebraska watching videos in an apartment in Hell’s Kitchen. They were all part of the Church of God and spent the next two hours trying in the most polite way possible to convince me that I was going to Hell for real unless I let Jesus into my heart. It was awful.
7.A Halloween party with a guy I was dating maybe 13 years ago, from whom I was feeling estranged and was about to break up with. He was Speed Racer and wouldn’t break character all night. I was the Prom Queen who got a gun (I wore my original, puked on prom dress) and was lonely, blood covered and smelled vaguely like vomit from 1985. This other guy was dressed as the dial-a-dermatologist Dr. Zizmor (for those of you who don’t ride the NYC subways, that means he wore a lab coat and had a giant cardboard rainbow placard arching over his head) who kept abruptly turning and thwacking me in the face. I left and had a falafel by myself.
I could go on but I’d rather hear about your own worst parties ever. Please include mucho detail and be glad that you no longer have to cry to get someone to take you home.