$139.98! We told her just 2, maybe 3 friends. But no, she insisted on inviting nine. Now a small gathering at Dave and Busters has turned into a multi-hour, multi-vehicle, multi-preteen girl extravaganza. Not to mention, the use of our living room for a sleepover. Not to mention I have to wake up at my usual 4 am to work the next day. Not to mention the talk of farting and countless Musically’s being made on the trip to and from. Not to mention the other half of the cost of the party ($139.98 plus recommended gratuity) is due at the completion of the event. And why do we do this you ask? We do this because we love her, and she has me and her mother wrapped around her finger.
As I sit here writing this, my wife reminds me that I get to go to work the day after while she has to become the newest short order cook; making and flipping pancakes. The funny thing is she claims she doesn’t cook and can barely make pancakes. If I had the privilege of staying home, I could make the best mickey mouse pancakes this side of the Mississippi. Once again, however, I have to remind myself that my daughter is turning twelve and that Mickey Mouse just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Now it’s all about her iPhone and Polaroid cameras. Talk about the way back machine. God forbid she use her $900 phone to take pictures, but she wants pictures to magically appear from the camera. That’s another $100. Now you’re probably thinking that all I do is complain about money, and you’d be mostly right. I do however realize that being a parent involves making sacrifices regardless of cost, monetarily or otherwise. I want to give her everything I possibly can because I know that it makes her happy. I want to at the same time teach her, however, that love cannot be bought.
Reflecting on her previous birthdays, I recall a party almost every year. Whether it be a small 2-person event at the bowling alley or an emoji sleepover or even next year when she has already informed us that she wants to go on a haunted ghost tour in Gettysburg for her golden birthday on Friday the 13th, the theme remains the same. Every passing year it gets grander and more elaborate, and every year she gets a little more mature, and thusly she needs us less and less. It is downright scary, and I know that I will bawl on the day she leaves our house just as much as I did the day she was born.
I remind myself now is the time to appreciate all the joys that being a parent brings; embracing every day we spend with our child and seeing them grow and flourish under our guidance. Seeing her become her own person with her own identity and own ambitions makes all the struggles and obstacles worth it.
Happy Birthday Becca (Tina)