It's Parties Time?

“We’ll have my party at that bouncy place from last year,” announces my kindergartner, Elie, “and then we’ll have my other party at Chuck E. Cheese.”

Other party?

Now that she’s approaching the age of maturity—6—it’s time to come clean with her.

Mommy can only stomach the idea of back-to-back parties when the words “pub” and “crawl” appear together on the invitation.

Might the bouncy house be located in a pub?

It mightn’t.

Besides, there’s the money issue.

Mentally calculating the cost of inviting every kid in her class (the school’s well-intentioned but financially ruinous policy) to her birthday, I’m not even sure we can swing one fete.

I consider hosting a soiree at our house, but we did that more than a decade ago when our oldest daughter turned 5, and I still have a limp.

“Why don’t we just go with Chuck E. Cheese since we’ve already done the bouncy house?” I ask, suddenly remembering that the pizza-slinging hellhole at least serves beer.

“It’ll be fun!”

It won’t be fun.

For me.

But it’s not about me. It’s about her.

She’s the last of four, so my husband and I tend to indulge her; the end of the parenting-a-little-kid tunnel is in sight.

Plus, there’s the whole heart thing.

Born with a deadly cardiac defect and having endured way too many surgeries and procedures, Elie need only finger the scars on her chest before I’m online pricing ponies.

Luckily, she’s still too young to play the “I almost died” card.

That day will come—and will surely involve a puppy of some sort—but it hasn’t arrived yet.

For a while longer, at least, I can put my foot down.

“Sorry, Sweetie,” I say, “but it has to be one or the other. We can’t do both.”

And then I catch a glimpse of the faded suture marks near her throat.

Damn it.

Maybe two parties wouldn’t be that expensive…


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