No, this isn’t about how Maverick’s diaper blew out all over my lap during the church baby shower. That’s probably a better story to go with the title.
Instead, this is a story about Z.
And a birthday party.
Imagine being almost-four-years-old. And you’re minding your own business (jumping on the couch or writing your name backwards on the chalkboard easel) when your mommy comes up to you and says, “Would you like to put on a fancy dress? We’re going to a birthday party!”
You give a happy squeal. This birthday party came out of nowhere! (In truth, your mommy wasn’t telling you about it because she has a little tiny baby and even at the last minute she wasn’t entirely sure she was going to get things enough together to go.) So you get Mommy’s help and put on an adorable dress. You make a card for the birthday girl, even getting out some special stickers to decorate it.
The whole family piles into the car. “This party isn’t at the old house our friends lived in,” Mommy says. “They moved, so we’re going to a new house in a nearby city. Don’t worry though, it’ll only take about half an hour.”
Before you know it, your baby brother is asleep, and so are you.
You sleep and sleep and sleep.
When you wake up, though, you aren’t at your friend’s birthday party.
No. You’re on your own street. Where you live.
Daddy says, “We have bad news.”
You lift your sleepy head from the side of your carseat.
Mommy says, “We couldn’t find the party.”
You start crying. Mommy starts crying.
They looked and looked and looked, they say. They followed the directions, but the directions didn’t work. They called your friend’s mommy, but she was busy with the other guests, and didn’t hear her phone. They explored. They drove around for a long, long time and could not find the party.
You cry and cry.
“Let’s get a cake,” Mommy and Daddy say. “And we’ll celebrate on our own.” Mommy also promises to call your friend’s mommy and arrange a playdate.
You and Daddy go to buy a cake. You con him into the biggest, the fanciest, the most expensive cake there is. And you even get your name on it.
I know it’s not the same as going to the birthday party, but, historically, especially within your immediate family (i.e. your mommy), cake can help heal wounds.