The wonderful world of Justice and Mommy aka Mary!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Justice And His Plan B Birthday Party

On the morning of March 8th Justice and I woke up at the crack of dawn. We had a huge party planed for his super big 6th birthday and we needed to get an early start. We were planning to have his party at one of the local parks by the sea. They have a great playground, built in a sandbox and perfectly sized, first come first serve pavilions. I wanted to be sure to get a great spot, so we left the house at 7am to stake our claim.

As soon as we stepped out the front door I got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. The sky was dark and gloomy and the ground was wet. We had been in a terrible drought for the longest time and mother nature had chosen this week to try and make up for some lost time. We were still hours away from the main event, so I decided not to throw the towel in just yet.

As I began to drive down the street, I instinctively reached out to turn the radio dial down. Justice and I needed to have a talk. “Justice” I said calmly “You know how we’ve had your party outside every year since you were born…..” “Yeeees” he said with some trepidation in his little voice “Well, honey, at some point our number has to be up. We can’t get great weather every year, and it looks like this may be our “bad” year” “Um, ok” he said, not fully grasping what I was saying. “If we have to cancel the party, mommy will think of another plan” I said, with no plan in my head.

The weather was going to have to clear up. It just had to. The $45 cake had been bought, the appetizers had been made and they weren’t going to keep another week or two for a rain date. I resolved myself to the fact that we would just have to set up the pavilion and hope our decorations wouldn’t get rained on. Then it happened.

No, not rain- something completely unforeseen. We began to get closer to Loggerhead park, and we began to see signs for an Artfest by the sea. As we pulled into the entrance of the park we were met by two police officers and flashing lights. “Good morning ma'am, where are you headed?” he asked. “Oh we’re here to set up for a birthday party.” I answered with a bad feeling in my stomach. “I’m sorry, the park’s closed today. They are using the parking lot for overnight parking for the vendors of the festival.” Tears began to well up in my eyes as I absorbed what he said. The location I had so carefully chosen was now unavailable and I had to battle that and the weather now.

I had sent Evite’s out for everyone and didn’t even have everybody’s phone number to tell them the party had to be moved. It was a total nightmare. The officer suggested a park up the road; however, I've been there before and it has the lamest playground I’ve ever seen, so I decided to check out some parks in North Palm Beach and Lake Park.

As the clock continued to tick by and the rain kept falling, I scouted out the parks. In North Palm Beach there was a nice park on the intercostal with a great playground and a palm covered pavilion, but no bathrooms. The only problem was, I was pretty sure the pavilion was able to be rented. It I choose this location and set the party up there I could be kicked out at any time with anybody holding a receipt for the location. At that point, that would have been more than I could handle.

I decided to find out for sure if this pavilion could be rented and check the day’s weather report In order to do that, I needed to go back to our house, pick up my laptop and find a hotspot. After hitting two locations I found a decent internet connection and my fears were confirmed. I tried to call the parks department to see if the space was available, but got no answer. I checked the weather and saw there was a 60% chance of rain and high winds, with a cold front coming through. Not very encouraging.

The clock was still ticking. Next, I drove over to Kelsey Park in Lake Park. This is another great park on the intercostal with bathrooms, a newly renovated park and small pavilion. The problem here was the pavilion only had 2 small tables, definitely not enough room for 25 people. Even if I brought my own table, I would not have nearly enough room for the number of guests who were invited.

In a desperate state I drove back to the park in North Palm. As I pulled up and stepped out of the car, I looked up at the gloomy sky above, I felt the too cool breeze sweep over my body, which produced a uniform uprising of goose bumps across my skin. I felt the occasional droplet of rain run down my face. I felt like I was caught between a rock and a hard place. I needed somebody to talk this over with. I needed to think out loud, so I called my best friend Allie.

She listened patiently to me ranting, almost on the verge of tears. She told me that if things didn’t work out I was welcome in her house almost four hours away. It wasn’t a perfect plan; but, it was the plan B I promised to Justice earlier that morning. With that in mind I got off the phone and decided to head off to McDonald's. Justice was hungry and I needed to make a decision.

As he sat there eating his hotcakes and sausage, I sat there watching him. As much as I love having his big party every year, I knew it was more important to make the best decision for him and ensure a happy birthday. Neither location was a safe bet and according to the weather report that was an even bigger threat. It was only two hours away from the beginning of the party and I had run out of time. I had to make the very difficult call to cancel the party.

As I made my phone calls to alert the guests, my heart was heavy. Everybody was very understanding and gracious. A few people asked about a rain date; but, after I explained our predicament they could see why it as an all or nothing day for us. We are truly blessed to have such amazing friends and family.

I finished my calls and then my breakfast and we were ready to go.
We swung by the house, fed and watered the critters, threw a few things in a bag then hit the road for Ocala. After a long ride we arrived at our destination…well almost. We still had to make it down the bumpy, unleveled dirt roads with a Dora The Explorer cake that resembled a mountain. I think I drove at about a half a mile an hour. I was determined not to ruin his cake. The poor kid had enough disappointment for one day and I wanted to make the best out of a bad situation.

As soon as we pulled up in front of the house I checked the cake. We had lost a small section of the purple and green mountain, but nothing more. It was fixable. We gathered our things and made our way to the front door. I turned the knob, we stepped in, and I called out “Hi honey, I’m home!” Of course Aunt Allie came around the corner with a smile on her face. Sometimes we think we’re funny. Her husband fails to see our humor.

Quickly I brought the appetizers in, set the cake up and made the party punch. Together we hung the Happy Birthday banner, hung the crepe paper and blew up the balloons. The party was ready to begin. Now, all we had to do was wait for the children to get back from another birthday party down the road.

Within the hour the children arrived and the party got underway. The blown up balloons were a huge hit. I had no idea balloons without helium could provide so much fun. They were used as whoopee cushions, noise makers and airy balls to be batted about. Occasionally there was a loud POP when a child pushed too hard or pricked too sharply.

After the majority of the balloons had met an early demise, we broke out the face paints. I had visions of little tigers and zebras; but, the boys had other ideas. In no time at all I was surrounded by Frankenstein, Dracula, a skeleton and all sorts of monsters. Of course the fun didn’t end there. The kids decided that it would be lots of fun to paint US! Let’s just say we’ve looked better and leave it at that.

Next came the cake. When we were in the grocery store pouring over the pages of specialty cakes, Justice’s eyes lit up when he saw the Dora The Explorer cake. It was a huge mound of purple and green icing with star candles, all sitting on…..A BOARD GAME! He would get a cake, board game and backpack. There was no contest. This was the cake he had to have.

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We lit the candles and sang the familiar Birthday tune both on key and off key. Allie was on key and I was off key. The children were somewhere in between. The song came to an end and Justice took a deep breath. His cheeks blew up like a chipmunk hording it’s evening snack and he blew with all the might of a six year old. The candles went out and he got his wish. At least I think he got his wish, he wouldn’t tell us what it was or it wouldn’t come true.

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After we had eaten our cake, Justice opened his presents. The highlights were a spider man umbrella from Nona (my mom), “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” from Aunt Allie and the kids and a Alien Maker kit from me, which was actually chosen by Allie at the last second to make up for the lack of gifts. He was quite thrilled with his gifts and we decided to end the party with a movie. We sat on Aunt Allie’s super comfy, brand new couch and watched his new movie on her brand new Samsung TV with auto motion detector. It was amazing. Allie had told me of this TV that makes everything look like it’s 3D; but, I was skeptical. No more am I a skeptic. This TV rocked and so did the movie. We all enjoyed it and it was the perfect end to a perfect night.

Justice even fell asleep with his party hat on!

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posted by Mary Gerber at 4/06/2008


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