One thing I’ve always loved about going to birthday parties with my kids was seeing friends, husbands, and siblings. I have a group of friends I had known since my oldest was 9 months old, and a newer group with the Preschool my boys had been attending for 2 years. It was fun. I always looked forward to parties.
Now I’m in a new neighborhood and a my kids are in a new school. Yes, I’ve met some people, had a few play dates, but I still don’t have a network yet. And then I picked up the kids from school one day and my 4 year-old had….not one, but two birthday invitations for the same weekend. Now, most people would peg me for a social butterfly, which I definitively can be, but walking into a birthday party and not knowing anyone was terrifying me a little. I thought that I should prepare. First step….figure out who the birthday boy is. One day I went for pick up and there weren’t any other moms around so I saw an opportunity not to embarrass myself. I asked the teacher who he was but the kid wasn’t even there that day! So, I’d have to wing it.
But then I underestimated the travel time to the bowling alley. Yes, I said bowling alley. A bunch of 4 and 5 year-olds bowling. And I wouldn’t know anyone. I would have sent my husband but I wanted to make friends. So, I walked in 10 minutes late. Disaster. The woman who worked there wouldn’t make eye contact so I didn’t know if the party was to the right or left. And how embarrassing to not be able to figure it out on my own! Then my son recognized a boy. Thank God! And another latecomer walked in after me. A good opportunity. I introduced myself and we got our boys set up at the same lane to bowl. I still had no idea whose party it was….then I spotted the party hat that said “Birthday Boy”. Phew!
Unfortunately I had a harder time making friends than I had hoped, and my son had a lost look on his face for a while. Ordinarily I would pair him up with some friends to help him warm up but I didn’t even know who his friends were. It was a sad moment for me as a mom. But as the party went on things got a little better. I introduced myself to a few people but didn’t really click with anyone. I was missing my friends a little. And I have to do this all over again tomorrow. But the mom who walked in right after me will be there so I’ll be walking into that one with a bit more confidence.