First Party, Permanent Damage

Daily Prompt It’s My Party You’re throwing a party — for you! Tell us all about the food, drink, events, and party favours you’ll have for your event of a lifetime. Use any theme you like — it’s *your* party!

Parents like to buy books to help their children develop motor skills and learn the customs of their world. One of these books in my childhood was My Birthday Party. I can even remember the illustrations in this book and their colors. A popular color combination back in the 50s was red/pink/black/gray with maybe some green accents. This book was like that.

It had a story in the front. A little girl made invitations and sent them to all her friends. They all came to the party and had a wonderful time. There was a pink cake with red roses and green squiggles and they played games after they had cake. Yeah. Typical kid’s party.

At the end of the story there were heavy paper models that a kid could pop out of the book and assemble into a birthday cake to “play birthday party.” I did this. I made the 8 little pink wedges, that looked just like the cake in the story, and put them together into a circle. It also had invitations that a kid could “write” on. I was already writing, but not reading yet, so only my dad could tell that I’d written my friends’ names on those invitations because he was the only person who could read my writing. He said he’d mail them on his way to work. There were also table decorations to assemble, and I put them together, too.

I’ve always been an imaginative person, more, I’m sure, than my mom understood, especially then when I was four or five and we were getting to know each other. They had no idea what was going on inside my head, none. If they had…

The day for the party came, the one I’d written on the invitations. I set up the folding table in my room, laid out all the paper cake plates from the book and set a “cake” wedge on each one. I asked for candles, but mom said no (there was a hole in the top of each wedge for a candle). I set the decorations on the middle of the table. Then I got dressed up and went to the living room. I sat in the green chair by the front door and waited for my friends to come. It was a rainy, rainy day with a dark sky. No one came. My little heart was broken. My parents were stunned. They had assumed I knew it was “pretend.”

Now, when I hold a party, I always imagine that no one shows up. In fact, the thought of holding a party is a major stressor for me. Those first experiences leave deep tracks in the sand of our souls.

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4 thoughts on “First Party, Permanent Damage

  1. How sad. My mum and dad did a party for me when I was a kid. I had almost forgotten them. We had no money, there were no big expensive things like the kids seem to get today, but I suppose being the only one they did their best. Today I do not enjoy parties, I do not want a party.

    • I don’t enjoy parties much, either. Sometimes, depends on the circumstances. My parents did have a birthday party for me when my birthday came around but I wasn’t happy about it. That experience really shadowed me. Kids are a lot more impressionable sometimes than grownups know, I think.

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