The Birthday Party

This is part of a collection of short stories depicting and detailing true events and personal experiences in my life, with a few tweaks for the privacy of all involved.

It wasn’t a game, she thought it was a game but it definitely wasn’t a game. Games were fun, games were enjoyable for all the people taking part in the game… I wasn’t having fun. I was having the opposite of fun. I’d been sitting on my own at a table for close to an hour and a half and I was pretty done for the day. Kids parties always make me anxious, especially when it’s a kinder friend. It’s not the kids that make me anxious, it’s the parents. The tens of parents that for some reason always feel older than me. I’m not a young parent, I was 23 when I had Amethyst and 29 when I had Diamond. Everyone else seems to have their shit together, though. They have nice cars and I haven’t even got my licence yet. They have nice homes and I’m still stuck with mum. They have jobs and I don’t have a cent to my name. That shouldn’t matter to them where I am at in life as long as I am a good parent but in the long run, it does matter. The conversation is harder, the play dates are uncomfortable and eventually find myself stuck between a 40 year old who drives an SUV and a 45 year old lawyer. The commonalities seem to be very far and few in between at this point.

I managed to make eye contact with Amythest as she zipped across the play centre. She was having the time of her life, which was the only reason I ever even attempted to socialise with people I always felt were above me – or maybe they behaved that way?

“I’m Tina, you must be Amythest’s mum. I’m Jacks mum.” A tall woman approached my lonely table and took a seat across from me. “Yes, I’m B! Nice to meet you.” That’s it. And this is where the awkward, uncomfortable silences begin.

After a minute or two, Tina started up again. “Isn’t it lovely when you can just come to a birthday party and relax with a coffee without having to stress?”

“Yeah, definitely!” I scoffed in a relatable tone… how would I even continue this conversation?

“So B, what do you do for work?” Oh shit, my favourite question. I can’t really come out with the truth which is from the age of 15 until I had my first baby, I was in and out of bad relationships and on drugs and doing everything except working and since I became a mum, that’s all I’ve done… be a mum.

“I’m doing certificate lll in Childcare…” I can feel my ears burning, my palms beginning to sweat and the panic starting to set in.

“Oh, I’m a childcare worker! How do you like it?” Tina said loudly, loud enough for all the other parents to also now be under the impression I am a childcare worker.

“Yeah,” I said, in a high pitched husky voice, “I’m probably going to drop it soon, though. I mean, juggling that plus the kids is hard.” You are a liar, B. A big, fat liar……

The conversation died off there and it was finally time to grab a lolly bag and head for the nearest exit. The last thing I want is to get caught walking out the door with little Suzie and her mum, chatting away only for them to realise we aren’t walking to the car park with them because our Uber is meeting us at the taxi bay.

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