Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Can Cry if I Want to!

Growing up, us kids had 'friend' birthdays every other year, which meant we had two years to plan and look forward to it and although they were never fancy, it was always a very big deal for us. I was turning 12, it was a 'friend' year and I was so excited.

I had a sleep over and invited 8 girls--seeing as how we had 8 kids in my family at that time I think my parents were pretty generous. It had been hard to choose 8--there was lots of "Will Molly come if I don't invite Shannon?" and "will Heather feel out of place if Kim isn't there?" and "Will Kim get mad if Molly's there?" and "Do I invite Sara?" Sara was a big issue. She thought I was a dork (I'm not saying I wasn't)--everyone knew she thought I was a dork--but she'd recently moved in up the street from me which put her in the 'ward' category although she didn't come very often and I had invited all the other girls in my 'ward' age group--but they were my friends. And Sara really wasn't. But she was 'popular' and friends with some of the other girls there, and I was inviting all the other girls in my ward age group. Do I invite her too, even though she thinks I'm a total lameo dork?

I didn't invite her.

At first.

But about 1/2 an hour into the party, one of the girls called Sara and told her that we were all at the party, then she handed the phone to me so that Sara could wish me a happy birthday. She said she hoped I had a nice party. MAN. So I stammered through how lame my mom was and I could only invite eight people. She was very good (i.e. manipulative) about it and said it sounded like we were having a really good time. I felt horrible. She sounded like she really wanted to come and I loved the idea that she wanted to be at MY party. So, with 8 kids in our family and 8 additional 12 year old girls, I went and begged (i.e. manipulated) my mom to let Sara come. Mom gave in; Sara came; it was all downhill from there.

See, I wasn't the only person at my party that Sara thought was a dork--and the party quickly separated into 'Cool' and 'Dork' groups. Sara thought the games I planned were dumb, which meant the people in her group thought they were too. Sara thought the movie we watched (The Incredible Shrinking Woman) was stupid, which meant her group thought so too. Of course, she never said it like that, she just said things like "Are we seriously doing a pinata?" and "I've seen this like ten times, did you record it off the TV?" THEN, we all go to sleep in the TV room, shoved into every available corner. Someone (probably Sara but I can't remember, which means it could very well have been me) says we should tell scary stories, so we do. And hour later two girls are crying because they are sleeping next to the window and if that guy with the hook decides to break in, they're going to get killed first. No one will trade places with them. Sara and her group start whispering to each other and I know they are saying how dumb my party is. I leave the room, trying not to cry, desperate for solutions to this nightmare. I go in and tell my parents that I don't know what to do. My dad tells me I'm being a jerk and to just get my butt back in there and finish the damn party (he's not so good with emotional drama). Eventually, that's what I do. I go back in the room, turn my back to everyone and clench my eyes closed in hopes I will sleep and everyone else will to.

Eventually, we do sleep. I don't remember what happened in the morning except that after everyone leaves I go to my room and cry for an hour, certain that this social flop will ruin my life.

It didn't--in fact I don't remember any kind of follow-up other than I decided I never wanted to have another birthday party again. And I didn't. In later years I would go to a movie with friends, or we'd go to someone else's house, but I never had another invitation, cake, friends-to-my house party. It wasn't worth the risk. Sara and I eventually became sorta friends, though she was always way cooler and I was always way dorkier.

I told this story to Lou-lou last week as she was stressing about who to invite to her party, who not to invite, what to do at the party, what would be fun. I told her not to get her hopes up too high, that after you turned 10 girls were different, parties were different, and that having a schedule probably wasn't a really great idea. She's a very fun, creative, and high energy girl and felt sure that we could come up with stuff that would make her party amazing. We came up with some really fun ideas and I was hopeful.

And then the girls showed up.

They all knew each other except one, who is a year younger than Lou-lou but a good friend. Lou-lou tried hard to make sure this girl had a good time, which meant her other friends kind of grouped together. No one was mean, but every girl there had a cell phone, and through each part of the party they were texting or calling someone. At 8:30, Lou-lou came to me complaining about the phones. I went to collect them, saying I would keep them in the kitchen (like when you take all the drunk people's keys). They all insisted their mother would be calling them and so they had to keep their phones with them (can you say rehearsed?). They didn't want to watch the movie, they didn't like the cake, they kept texting. At 10:30 Lou-lou came to me saying she wished she hadn't had a sleep over and they were making her crazy cause they didn't seem to want to do anything she had planned. I did not tell her she was a jerk and she should get back to her damn party, I said "I'm sorry, is there anything I can do to help?" There wasn't because the girls still insisted their mothers were going to call them. At 11:00 I said goodnight. At 2:00 Lou-lou told everyone they needed to go to bed. They said they wanted to watch the movie now.

At 8:00 the first one had to leave for a dance practice--they all woke up. I made breakfast, they ate, another one left, they played a game that one girl said was dumb, they went outside and collected eggs (I think they actually liked that part) they wandered the yard and jumped on the trampoline. At 11:00 the last one went home and Lou-lou came in to tell me she was done with parties--I was right, it didn't work after you turned ten.

I hate to say I told her so, but, well, I told her so.


Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I'm suddenly wishing I had boys instead of girls...Sigh.

Kristina P. said...

I can't remember really ever going to really big sleepover parties. And we definitely didn't have cell phones, so that's a new kink I didn't even think of.

Annette Lyon said...

Hard lessons to learn as a budding young woman.

Thanks for the excuse to no longer have parties for my older girls. :D

Lara Neves said...

This is actually a very interesting and informative post. The cell phones would have driven me crazy. Poor Lou-Lou.

I never did have a big party, I think the most my parents ever let me invite was 3 or 4 girls.

Luisa Perkins said...

Oh, how I love this post.

I always wanted to have a slumber party, but was never allowed to. I resented it for years, but now I'm feeling like I dodged a bullet!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I remember those days. I didn't mind having people at my house, but if I went to a friend's house to sleep over, I would get homesick and have my parents come pick me up. I was such a homebody.... Oh well!;) I can't wait until my daughter is 12!:D

Melanie Jacobson said...

Yeah, Luisa totally dodged a bullet. I went to tons of slumber parties and what I remember is that they are totally where mean girls incubate.

Savanna said...

Dang those cell phones. Seriously they are a major issue these days!! Thank you for teaching for me on Sunday. That was SO nice of you!

Anonymous said...

I had my last sleepover for my 16th birthday party, and it was an absolute blast! Five other girls came to my house and my mom let us watch Terminator (yeah, I'm old, so what?)

We giggled till two in the morning, then the next day (my birthday) we went swimming. We were old enough to not need parents, and there was no drama at all.

I'm so totally sad that yours was bad - you and Loulou really missed out. I'd loan you my happy one if I could.

An Ordinary Mom said...

I am definitely filing this to remember in 3 short years!

Marcia Mickelson said...

I love the Incredible Shrinking Woman!!

Birthday parties get so much harder as the kids get older. I'm starting to dread them.

Kristi said...

I am SO grateful that I only have boys. Their parties are so stinkin easy, I can hardly believe it. Have a couple boys over to play the Wii and bada boom...bada bing. Birthday bliss. Let them fry their brains for a few hours. Works every time. :)

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Loved this post, Josi. I laughed and winced at the same time.

Crystal said...

Ugh-stupid girls and their stupid phones. Tell me this though, why couldn't YOU answer the phone if their dear old Mamma called? I mean you weren't going to turn them off were you? Not to criticize, not strongly anyway, but those stupid phones! I am ticked about this!

Julie Wright said...

Cell phones suck! Tell Lou Lou she's has all my sympathy. I think I'll show this to rae and use it as an example of why parties are a bad idea.