It’s been a quiet week at Camp Mummy, as Duncan and Berry are at a French camp at their elementary school this week. It’s our only week of official summer camp and the summer has, essentially, been structured around it.
Last Saturday we began our summer birthday celebrations with Duncan’s birthday party. He chose a party at Splash! — a local swimming wave pool with a waterslide — partly because he thought it would be fun and partly because he wanted to invite as many friends as possible. I didn’t concede to his entire 3rd grade class of 26 or so students plus a few from the other 3rd grade class, plus a couple of other friends, but the invites did total over 20. Fortunately, I suppose, people’s schedules are as busy in the summer as the rest of the year, so not everyone could attend. We ended up with 16 or so kids, including siblings.
I confess, I’d been slightly dreading it. Splash! is noisy, often crowded and chlorinated. None of these, alone, make a place appealing to me and combined… Well, there’s a lot I’ll do for love.
Feeling incredibly unprepared, I managed to get the cake ready right before we had to leave, barely, remembering on the way there that I forgot to bring a knife to cut it with.
“We’ll improvise,” said Adam, calm as ever. “It may not be sterile, but we’ll figure it out. We could use a credit card, if we needed to. Or we could borrow a knife.”
Maybe I’ll just use a plastic knife, I thought, slowly rotating the cake on my lap so that the heat of the sun was spread out on the melting icing.
After we arrived and checked in, I realized I should have brought two table cloths to be able to actually cover the entire length of the tables. And beverages. Yeah, I forgot those.
But we arrived before any guests did, which was a minor miracle in itself and, as Duncan’s friends showed up, I began to relax a bit. Eventually there was a critical mass of 8- and 9-year-olds and I shooed them all into the pool to play.
I chatted with other parents, keeping a general eye on kids, then waded out into the waters myself. Berry was playing with our neighbor across the street. Duncan’s friends gathered into little groups of twos and threes and fours, splashing and playing, bobbing in the waves. Everyone was accounted for and all the lifeguards looked attentive. Phew!
I’m a person who enjoys finding adventure even in the mundane. Life can be boring and annoying, or amusing — however you choose to make it. Too often, even for me, my funny bone remains untickled, as if I have something I can hold over life if I’m grumpy about it. Generally, though, I prefer to be amused. Swimming around the pool, searching for Duncan and his friends to inform them it was 15 minutes until cake time amused me. It was an odd mix of bizarre and fun — a bit like laughing at myself for my balloon paranoia.
That done, it was time to fix the missing drink fiasco by purchasing several 32-oz cups of soda from the concession stand. They were kind enough to give me free water cups along with my $7.50 in soda. In retrospect, should have tipped them more.
And then another lap of the pool, this time swimming one-handed in order to keep my change dry. Giving it to another adult to hold, or just tucking it into my swimsuit top, would have made too much sense.
Then it was time for the birthday song (which no one could hear over the noise) and cake! Cake with really melted ice cream (I remembered the ice cream scoop). Cake cut with a thin, plastic knife from the dollar store.
None of the kids minded. They didn’t care I didn’t get the Pokeball the proper shade of red, either. It was cake. And ice cream. And soda.
Then it was present-opening time. So many Pokemon cards. So, so many. Followed by more splashing in the pool until finally, the last kid was picked up and dragged home, the car was packed and we straggled out ourselves.
We drove home, contented and worn out. It was a super birthday celebration, which is just what’s called for with a really great kid.