Not really. The theme of my youngest son's first birthday party was "duckies"! One of his first words, aside from the Momma, Dadda, and his brother's name, was "Duck!" which was immediately followed by "Quack quack!" However, the theme I had in mind and prepared with,wasn't the only theme. Enter, the usual "family circus." I love my family dearly, but often they simply write my blog posts for me. They are very predictably unpredictable. Just when you think you've seen or heard it all, they up their game and pull out a new brand of crazy. At least they're lovable crazies. (By the way, I am not unaware of myself. I realize I'm also afflicted by crazy. The difference is, I know, and openly admit I'm a case. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?)
We can start this entry at exactly 47 minutes before the party began, and I was trying to finish getting my oldest son ready....
Me: Come on, kiddo, I need to brush your teeth and do your hair.
Husband: We have 45 minutes! We have time.
Exactly two minutes later: *ding dong!* Enter my always ultra-early father in law. He has brought my husband's grandparents with him. I now have 3 guests to entertain almost an hour before the party, while I'm working on the finishing touches. Oh, fantastic, they want to chat while I work and expect my full attention. Let's get this party STARTED!
Now, along with my father in law always comes junk mail. We are talking catalogs, clippings from magazines, and coupons for the diapers they know we do not use. A real "Here, you throw this out!" situation. He did not let me down!
FIL: I brought you a gardening magazine! I know you have a garden. You can look through it and buy stuff out of it if you'd like.
Me: Oh. The catalog? I thought my husband brought in our mail.
What I was really thinking: I'm saving every women's apparel catalog I receive in the mail, and I will bring them to your house the next time we come up. I know you have a wife! You can look through it and buy stuff out of it if you'd like! PS Quit bringing me junk mail to stuff somewhere while I"m trying to get ready for a party you are so hella early for.
Not long after their arrival, my mother in law, her boyfriend, my brother in law and niece showed up. They are also always early. It's almost as if my fil and mil try to out-early each other. This is the first time she didn't ask our permission to show up early (we always say not more than 15 minutes), so I thought we were out of the woods, but nope... she didn't ask so she couldn't be told "no". She promptly walked over to Gram, whom my mother was speaking to (yes, my Mom WAS there early she and my sister come and help. They never expect to be entertained, and they always get busy helping when they get here... this is never the case with the other folks who show up with endless amounts of shit to dump in the middle of my beautifully decorated party and then ask for drinks and entertainment before I'm ready for the party to even start!!!) So, where was I, yes, my MIL walks over to Gram and my Mom, butts in and immediately starts talking to Gram and completely ignores my mother's existence. She never even acknowledges that she cut in on a conversation already in progress. She always makes that bee-line for Gram, who is her ex-mother in law (whom she doesn't quite have a great relationship with so that's even more peculiar.) Then, I notice that someone is moving into my house....
Yes, boxes upon dirty, dusty boxes are appearing in my house... on my front stoop, and are making their way into my basement. Everything comes to a screeching halt as a truck full of shit I wasn't warned about or asked for is completely unloaded into my home. A TRUCK. That is not an exaggeration. This is all still before the party starts, and GUESS WHAT! I'm expected to hold the door open for them (my MIL and her boyfriend) instead of do what I need to do for my party that starts in the next few minutes.
This might be a good time to mention that the last party I had, I was showered but still in my pj's about 20 minutes before the party started because I had so many last minute things to tend to. They are LUCKY I was dressed. Although, maybe answering the door in my nightgown would give them the friggin hint. Oh wait, my FIL used to knock on our door at 7AM on a weekend when we were newly weds without kids, and I'd roll out of bed and answer the door with pj's, undone hair, no make up, not even teeth brushed, and a scowl on my face and he still continued to do it.... so maybe not.
Then I notice my oldest son getting presents. My MIL found out that my SIL had something for him (now, it was something I asked her to get for him and I'd pay her for it, but my MIL thought it was a gift...) so SHE had to buy something for him, as well. Rule #1 on that side of the family: You don't get to do something original or on your own. SHE did it first, SHE did it better, or SHE did it bigger. (Hell, today I mentioned my husband has a swollen thyroid, and guess what SHE had one first!! Back when she was 30, and she had it for years, and the doctor was so clairvoyant that she didn't need any tests to know that it was absolutely nothing. She's a medical marvel, that one!)
So, let's fast forward past all the hairy eyeballs my MIL and FIL shot at each other, or the exaggerated sudden conversations they'd start up in my face as soon as the other one walked anywhere near them, and get to the flavor of nut that is my own flesh and blood...
My father is retiring and moving... just in case you don't live in a 500 mile radius and have been stopped by him, an entire packet of information about his new home in sunny Florida thrust in your face, and had him scrolling through the pics on his iphone while he tells you how fabulous and successful he is as a human being. Yep, he's just a little, well a whole hell of a lot better than you are. He has soooooooo much more than you do, too. He's so outrageously successful , that he is measuring his success with how big of a golf cart garage he will need... oh yes, he's going with the 2 cart garage! NO expense will be spared! THIS is what makes life complete... driving a golf cart around your retirement village as your 2 children live their lives and your 2 small grandchildren grow up so fast right before your very... oh wait... very far from your actual vicinity. But they will have his and her GOLF CARTS! Seriously, you can't top that. I know my mother's (yes, the one he divorced) father LOVED hearing all about his life of luxury and "better than you-ness", all the while knowing what my mother has gone through thanks to him. That was probably the EXACT conversation my pop-pop was hoping to have. I'm sure he loved the little movies of golf carts driving up and down the streets on my dad's phone. Totally awesome, and super appropriate. This day was meant to celebrate how top notch my dad is, and how he's made it, and once again is leaving his family behind and... oh wait... why is there a birthday cake... who are these presents for... oh wait, YEAH! There's a small person walking around here who might be important or something. Bet he doesn't have a golf cart. Loser.
Right after everyone ate, my husband's grandmother approached him and said they had to be leaving because his Dad was getting tired, and he was their ride home. My FIL then approached my husband and said that his Grandmother was getting tired so he had to get them home. Who do I believe? Gram. My FIL usually says, about an hour into any gathering "Well, I have to go mow the lawn." Like, he always waits to mow his lawn on the only day you have plans with him, even if you haven't seen him for several months. THAT'S the day he needs to mow. Why make the 3 hour round trip down here to stay for an hour? Usually when he says "Well, I" that's when I cut him off now and say "Have to mow your grass?! Well, thanks for coming!" in the most chipper, insane voice I have. Which, yes, is really really close to my normal insane voice, but still... He had to blame it on someone else because it was pouring rain and just above freezing, so mowing would be even more absurd than usual.
So that was our family circus party. These people, I could squeeze till their eyes pop out with equal parts of love and frustration. We ALL have these people in our families... if you think you don't then it's YOU! You may need to re-evaluate. I'm just sayin.
To end the party, I pulled out my brand of quirky behavior and pulled out the party hats, and proceeded to require everyone to wear one, corral everyone in front of the fireplace, and took a picture for my son's scrapbook. A photo of lovable, misfits who all belong together on the funny farm making each other laugh, cry, and sometimes stab things. But, they are our family, and if we got rid of any of them it would not be the same. If any of you tell them about this blog I will stick you. Just sayin'.