Dear Co-Parent

Dear Co-Parent,

Thank you so much for asking us to join your kid’s birthday party. My own kids are delighted—they love being considered friends worthy enough of inviting. We all know how, due to budget constraints, you may have to set a limit to the number of guests, and really, we’re thrilled to have made the cut.  And to include us adults, the parents? Even more of an honor.

DIY Science party. I love organizing these things, but participating in them--not so much.

I marvel at all the preparations you’ve done—whether you’re a hardcore DIY-er, or if you’ve roped in professionals to do it, hats off to you. I know the quantities of blood (from making all those decorations and invitations by hand), sweat (from setting up the party venue) and tears (either yours or your kid’s) involved in getting a party going. From the food to the loot bag, it’s crazy how much work goes into making sure that everything goes right. 

So believe me, I know.

Prepping for an Owl and Pussycat themed party

But dear co-parent. Dear, dear co-parent. Please. Don’t make me join the adult games at a children’s party. I know you mean well. You want to make it an all-inclusive event where everyone has to have fun. Or you feel obliged to keep us adults entertained. Please don’t worry about me. I can entertain myself (even if, truth be told, children’s parties are not on my list of must-do life events). And I have more than enough fun taking pictures and keeping track of my kids running around in a sugar high. Surely you do not want to torture any of your guests (namely me) by making them join games.

Donut Decorating Party!

Don’t take it personally. I never enjoyed joining games at children’s parties, even as a child. Perhaps it was the trauma of tripping during the sack race, or the stigma of being the one who dropped the baton in that crucial last leg of the three legged race (see what I did there?). Or perhaps the fact that I find it difficult to orient myself when blindfolded and therefore can never go the right direction to pin the tail on the donkey or break the palayok.   Whatever the reason, I was always perfectly content hanging out in some quiet spot, going through the old issues of Time magazine, or coffee table books, or brochures, much to my mother’s dismay (now if you want adult game participants, talk to my mom—she adores those things, enough for both of us).

Transforming the cemented back yard into a fairy garden for a tea party.

They say that some traits are inherited, and I’m afraid my younger daughter, Breeze, may have caught some of my stick-in-the-mud-wallflower-party-guest tendencies. Make no mistake; she likes going to parties—but she just likes to watch. Please don’t be offended if she refuses to eat the food you lovingly prepared, or join the games that you organized. She would love to watch your magic show, usually from my lap. But if she’s warmed up enough, she’ll even join the other kids sitting in the special kiddie chairs up front. Raine, our family social butterfly (who apparently takes after my mom), would be happy to join the games and activities on our behalf. 

I hope you won’t peg me as some high maintenance mommy diva. I would be so willing to help out behind the scenes. Make me serve food, or distribute the prizes. Tell me to set up the chairs and tables. I will labor for you making invitations and decorations. As long as I don’t have to interact much, I’m your man. Or woman.

Dear co-parent, I hope that this will be the start of a beautiful relationship between us. And I hope when we invite you to our kids’ parties, that you would enjoy them as much as we enjoy yours.

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