As Nathan informed us all yesterday, he is an absolute genius at planning children’s birthday parties. Seriously! In fact, he’s soon to be heading up a new DadWagon division, Pint-Size Parties R Us. Profitability is, at last, in our future!
I jest, of course. (DadWagon has been hugely profitable since Day One.) Jean, Sasha and I attended Dalia’s morning birthday event, and had a wonderful time. Actually, it was one of the most enjoyable kid-parties I’ve ever been to, though that was largely because all the kids were now, finally, around at least 2 years old, and so needed slightly less supervision. I didn’t hear much crying, Sasha got to lick the frosting off a cupcake, and all was well with the world.
There was, however, one teensy-weensy little problem with the whole thing. In e-mailing the invitation, Nathan and his wife, Julia, made one stipulation: no presents. Now, you’d think this would be a freeing moment. Ah, we’d all go, no need to drop $3 on some piece of plastic crap!
But for me, at least, it sparked a rush of anxiety. Is this, I asked myself, a directive intended to be ignored? A kind of humble, aw-shucks, we-don’t-need-nothing falsehood?
Even if it’s honest, I imagined, I pictured everyone else ignoring it anyway, and presenting Dalia with monumental boxes wrapped in exotic fabrics, tied up in silk, containing, I don’t know, taekwondo princesses or some shit. And there Jean, Sasha and I would be, empty-handed, the lone idiots among Nathan’s circle of friends not to realize that “no presents” is a phrase one always disregards.
As all these worries flooded my mind, I knew to ignore them. Nathan had asked for no presents, so we would comply with his wishes. But this annoyed me in one last way, too: He was, presumably, asking for no presents because his kids already have too much crap. And frankly, I think the punishment for parents buying their kids too much crap is to have even more crap foisted upon them. That’ll teach ’em!
In the end, of course, we brought Dalia nothing but ourselves. And she seemed happy enough with that. Next year, though: The Thornburgh family better clear some space in the basement!