The Parent Trip – Class party

People warned me not to do it. When I announced what I was planning, it was met with a variety of reactions.

  • Mar. 27, 2014 12:00 p.m.

By Shelby Cain


People warned me not to do it.  When I announced what I was planning, it was met with a variety of reactions.

Shock.  Laughter. Admiration.  The most common response was “Are you crazy?”


But ever since I was a child I’ve been hell-bent on doing exactly what people tell me not to do.  I’d consider it a personal challenge to defy even the most sinister warning.

Don’t jump off that cliff, it’s too high. I’d be the first one in. Don’t ride your bike down that gravel hill, it’s too steep. I ended up a mangled, bloody heap at the bottom.  It drove my parents nuts.

So when people told me I was out of my mind to attempt what I was about to attempt, I had to go for it.  If I ended up mangled and bloody when it was all over, so be it.

What was this death-defying endeavor?

A class birthday party.  Four was turning five, and she wanted all her friends to see it happen.  When I first broached the subject with my husband he started reminiscing about his fifth birthday, which included a hoard of kids and a Dukes of Hazard theme.  Those cupcakes frosted with tiny confederate flags were one of the highlights of his youth.  He was in.

I started reaching out to trusted sources for advice.  When they stopped laughing they got real serious, as if my life and the life of my house depended on heeding their words.

Don’t serve lunch.  Too late, I’m serving lunch.  Big mistake.  But if you insist, have no choices.  Understand?  Zero choices.  Hot dogs.  No buns.  Ketchup.  No mustard.  Carrots.  No celery.  Juice.  No colour.  Do you have any giant sheets of plastic you can lay on the floor?

Just to clarify, the party is for a bunch a four-year-old humans, not elephants.  You get that, right?

Oh, I get it.  Do you get it?

At this point they’d launch in to the horror story about the time they hosted over 20 children at one time.  That’s the thing, most parents have done this.  Once.

When the day of the big party arrived, Five was over the moon. I was exhausted from lying awake reviewing my first aid.  The parents dropped off their precious cargo in a parade of SUV’s and with one last…are you sure?…they skipped on out of there.

I took a deep breath, and jumped in.

Two hours later it was all over but the mess.  My minute-to-minute agenda was about as effective as my minute-to-minute birth plan, but it didn’t matter.   Not a tear was shed…even from me.

The kids were awesome, and I’ve got two years to recover before Three turns five.