Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Are all teen parties like they look on TV?

My daughter came home from school yesterday all excited because a friend in her health class had invited her to a party. A boy friend (though not, I think at this point, a boyfriend). It's her first middle school party, and although it's not her first boy-girl party, because we've always invited boys to her birthdays, it's the first party a boy has invited her to. She's been mentioning this kid for the last few weeks -- she hung out with him and his pal at the school dance, he stuck up for her when girls teased her in gym -- but couldn't even tell me what his name was. Now, thanks to a party invitation, I at least know that.

And I know, because I read too much, that middle school is when you have to start worrying about parties, and making sure that parents realize there's a party planned, and figuring out just what kind of party it is. I know that these are the things a cautious and responsible parent does, which doesn't mean I didn't feel like an idiot doing them. The invitation had an RSVP date but no phone number, but I was able to use the address to track the number down on the Internet. My daughter was pretty sure she could just tell the boy at school that she was going, but I couldn't turn down such a good opportunity to embarrass her -- that's what a cautious and responsible parent does.

The person who answered the phone sounded like a mom, but in fact I think it may have been the party boy himself. He turned me over to his mother (and I couldn't help but feel a little rush of relief when he called her "mommy" -- aren't kids who still call their moms "mommy" too young to have dangerous parties?), and I babbled on about RSVPing and wondering if there were going to be adults at the party and was it a birthday party, and although she didn't seem to quite understand what I was going on about -- maybe because she didn't speak a lot of English, maybe because I didn't make a lot of sense -- we had a pleasant exchange that ended with me promising to bring my daughter by on Saturday. So then I can move on from pre-party worrying and "did I make such a fool of myself that this kid's going to stop liking my daughter" worrying to full-on party worrying. Ah, the full life of a cautious and responsible parent.

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