Two years ago, for my step-daughter's golden birthday, I went all out. I am a planner by nature, and I came up with (what I thought was) the perfect party and surprise for a girl starting Junior High. Without my step-daughter's knowledge, I arranged for a limo to pick her and her friends up after school, where they would cruise around town for a bit, and then head to a "Hollywood style" photo shoot. My best gal pal is an amazing photographer, and offered her services for a couple hours so we could treat the girls to a photo shoot. The limo was to be stocked with sparkling juice (a.k.a. "kid champagne"), feather boas, and starlet sunglasses. It was something I was sure my step-daughter would love!
One catch; I couldn't tell her much about her party. I asked her to provide me a list of her most outgoing friends, and told her I would handle the rest. This did not go over well. She wanted to know what I was planning and the situation immediately turned stressful. I assured her I was planning a fun time for her and her friends, and reminded her that I knew her likes/dislikes, but that it was going to have to be a surprise. I desperately wanted to capture the look on her face when she walked out of school to find the limo waiting.
Anyway, it wasn't going to happen as I planned. The momster got involved and I ended up telling my step-daughter what the plan was, but asked her to keep it a secret from her friends so they could be surprised. Problem solved. Except, the momster planted a seed in my step-daughter's head that perhaps she'd be made fun of for having a limo pick her up. Maybe instead of kids thinking she was cool, they'd think she was nerdy. I received word that my step-daughter no longer wanted this party and instead she'd rather have a "normal" party with her friends. This, of course, was after I'd paid for the limo and made all the arrangements for the photo shoot. Shoot, indeed.
Big brother (my 15-year-old step-son) saved the day. He talked to my step-daughter and told her that in no way would anyone think it was nerdy to have a limo pick her up at school. In fact, some kids would be jealous, but most people would think it was really cool. Problem solved. Party back on. Whew!
Then I learned that the momster ordered the birthday cake for me. How NICE! By ordered, I mean simply "ordered". Not paid for. I received an email stating my step-daughter told the momster what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday, and that the momster talked to her friend who makes cakes, and the cake was on order. The friend would be contacting me to give me the cost and collect payment. Needless to say, I was not at all pleased with this arrangement. It would have irritated me if someone I liked had intervened in this manner, but to have the momster step in like this was most unwelcome. Not to mention, my step-daughter does not like cake. She usually asks for jello with whipped topping as her birthday cake. To keep the peace, I paid for and collected the cake. As a side note, I learned a few weeks ago that for the momster's 5-year-old's birthday, the "friend who makes cakes" didn't make the birthday cake. Instead, the cake came from a local grocery store. I wonder why the cake-making friend didn't make the little girl's cake... my guess is that a $50 kids' birthday cake that feeds eight is a bit too expensive for most people.
What started out as a thoughtful, expensive (even before the cake) plan for my step-daughter, turned into a situation involving tears and tantrums and hurt feelings - and that was just me. Although the party was a lot of fun, and the pictures turned out great, and - for the record - nobody at school teased her about the limo, I swore that the next birthday party would involve minimal planning on my part.
UNTIL... (to be continued)