My previous post plopped you smack dab into the center of a story and quickly yanked you back up from it before you learned the ending. I'm here to remedy that -- Missy to the rescue!

THE PROLOGUE

This year we decided to have a real party for Liberty's fourth birthday. Normally, we just have a cake and family hang-out time, but Liberty has figured out what a birthday party is, and she's been begging for one ever since Mercy's birthday in July. Since I'm not a big party planner, we decided to invite a few friends to play with us at the park.

After searching the calendar for an appropriate date, we finally realized the only day that would work for us was a Sunday which happened to be Liberty's actual birthday. In order to make that arrangement work for everyone involved, we would have to take a picnic lunch to the park after morning church, so my easy, no-work party quickly expanded to feed the party-ers and their families.

On Monday, I read through the lesson plan for my four and five year old Sunday School class, and noted a few random craft supplies that I would need. I planned to shop for them and the party items on Friday.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the supply lists in my head played themselves repeatedly until I could have recited them in my sleep. I was so worried that I would forget something.

On Thursday I thought it was Friday, so the girls and I shopped at the Dollar Store for everything we would need for the party: pretty paper plates, napkins, party hats, and a package of squirty toys to hand out as party favors. The helium balloons (two matching princess ones so that Liberty and Mercy could not argue over who was holding whose) and the chocolate cupcakes had to wait until late Saturday so they would still be in good condition for the party.

On Friday, I reviewed again the lesson plan for my four and five year old Sunday School class, and realized that I had not purchased those craft items when I shopped for the party supplies. "Oh well," I told myself. "I'll just have to pick them up when I buy the helium balloons on Saturday."

On Saturday, we all woke bright and early and finished up various family errands before heading to the zoo for Jeremy's company picnic. What a gorgeous, crisp, sunny day, it turned out to be. We thoroughly enjoyed our stroll through the zoo paths, and Liberty cracked us up by whipping out her notebook and pen at every exhibit. She told us she was taking notes about the animals. I have a few pictures that I wanted to add to this post, but I cannot find my camera, of course.

When the zoo day was over, we ate a wonderful supper at a restaurant and then toyed with the idea of returning to our small, dark, smelly apartment. I'm sure you don't need to be told what we decided. Jeremy pointed the van towards a furniture store, and we spent a few hours dreaming about how we would decorate our new home. We finally arrived back at the apartment around nine pm.

After Jeremy and I undressed, dressed, read to and tucked the children into bed, I whipped up the batter for the chocolate cupcakes. I put the first batch into the oven and stepped back to take stock of what still needed to be done. Finish baking, finish shopping, pack the party supplies into the van, prepare the craft project for my Sunday School class and review my lesson a final time.

That's when my brain hit the panic button.

Jeremy offered to finish baking and cooling the cupcakes while I went shopping. As I made a list of items to buy at Walmart since the Dollar Store had closed at eight pm, Jeremy made requests: "Will you buy a box of chocolate pudding while you're at the store, please?" "Did you know we are out of Aquafina? You should pick some water bottles up, too." "Mmm, I could really go for one of those spicy chimichangas they keep in the section near the pizzas."

I remember hearing his requests; I remember responding to his requests; I remember thinking specifically about walking back to the pizza section to pick up one of his requests, but when I arrived back at home, I had not purchased any of the items he had asked for. In fact, I did not even realize that I'd forgotten until he said, "Where's the pudding?" as he helped me unpack the grocery bags.

I looked at him blankly, "What pudding?"

"The pudding I asked for before you left."

"Oh," I stared at the bags, "Uh, I don't think I bought any."

"That's okay; I didn't really need to eat that anyway, but where's my chimichanga?"

"Your chimichanga?" I repeated. Then I remembered his requests. "Oh no! Jeremy, I didn't buy any of the things you asked for, not the pudding or the chimichanga or the water. I completely forgot about them. I'm so sorry!"

He looked at me strangely, "Why not?"

"I don't know! I didn't even think about them." I looked at my list to see if I could figure out what had gone wrong. "Oh my goodness, I didn't even write them down. Look!"

"So I don't even get a can of Pepsi?" he said sadly.

"A can of Pepsi? You never asked for a can of Pepsi."

"Yes, I did."

"Well, even if you had, I probably wouldn't have remembered."

"That's true," oddly enough, it sounded as though this logic cheered him up.

I surveyed the finished cupcakes sitting on the stove top. They had turned out perfectly. Then I stared at the items arrayed before me. Paper plates, napkins, toys, craft supplies, balloons, presents that still needed to be wrapped, my lesson book, my Bible, Chadder - our class puppet, diapers that needed to go into the diaper bag...and something inside me broke. I think it was my brain. I started walking in circles. First I walked to the bedroom to get my Sunday School bag. Then I realized I had not prepared the craft, so I stopped and walked back to the kitchen to get the poster board. As I walked into the kitchen, I passed the diapers that needed to be put into the diaper bag, so stopped and walked back to the bedroom to get the diaper bag. Halfway down the hall, I started thinking about what else should go into the diaper bag, and I realized that the chocolate cupcakes would be messy and diaper wipes would be the perfect solution to all that mess, so I turned around to find the diaper wipes.

Are you getting the picture?

This went on for several minutes, until Jeremy stopped me to ask what in the world was wrong. When I was unable to get my thoughts into a complete sentence to tell him my trouble, he decided it was time for us to go to bed, after all it was close to midnight, and we could finish everything in the morning. Of course, I refused to go to bed with so much left undone, so he went to bed without me, and I walked in circles for another hour.

That's when I decided to sit at the computer and blog because blogging usually calms me down and helps my brain get back into a straight line.

I could tell while I typed that it wasn't going to work for me that time, so after posting, I went to bed where I thought and thought and thought about all the things that I needed to finish before church the next day. I think I fell asleep around four in the morning.


THE EPILOGUE

The following morning, Jeremy very thoughtfully decided to let me sleep in. He got the girls ready for church and woke me up to tell me that he was taking them in, and he would be back for me shortly.

I jumped out of bed, and cried out to God for HELP; I knew if I tried to hop right in where I left off last night, I would end up running in circles again. God prompted me to take some slow time to sit at the table and make a list of what needed to be done. Surprisingly enough, after reading my list, I realized there really wasn't a lot of work to do. Just some organization. I prioritized and set to work.

Jeremy returned with breakfast from a drive-thru and made me stop to eat it while he read my list. Then he picked an item and got to work on it. We quickly formed an assembly line: when I finished something, he would pack it up and walk it to the van.

We got to church ahead of schedule, and I had everything I needed for a smooth lesson time with my kids.

Afterwards, we drove to the park, and our efficient teamwork continued. Jeremy wrangled the kids while I set the table and prepared our supplies. At one point, I looked up and saw Jeremy climbing up the monkey bars to the platform about 20 feet in the air. He slid down the slide with Mercy in his lap and climbed back up again. Later, he set all the little girls giggling by wearing two party hats, one on each ear. What a wonderful man I married!

I declared the party to be a success even though I forgot to bring any cups, and even though I packed my camera and then couldn't find it. (I still can't find it.) Liberty turned four = success. Liberty and her friends had fun = success.

Really, what more could you ask from a birthday party? (Besides pictures.)
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4 Responses
  1. Tiffany Says:

    I got dizzy while reading this, Missy! I'm glad everything went smoothly and Liberty had a great birthday party. I've wondered before how old my kids will be when I start doing the birthday party thing. I have a friend whose throwing an all out party for her baby whose turning 1! But I think I'll do family parties until they're old enough to want their own party.

    Also, last time I went to the grocery store, I got everything I was supposed to EXCEPT what Mike reminded me to get. I had written it down and still forgot! So you're not alone :)


  2. Suanna Says:

    How fun! It sounds like a great time. Maybe when you find your camera you can go back and get some special "birthday" pictures of Liberty at the playground.


  3. Que Says:

    I love it when a plan comes together. Of course, that's a quote from The A-Team. So under normal circumstances it wouldn't apply to a 4YO's birthday party planning. But for some reason it fits.


  4. Beth Says:

    Awww....how sweet! What a man!! What a woman!! What a family!! I can't wait to meet you!!


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