Today I attended a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. My favorite game there is Whack-a-Mole because I have found that beating little gopher heads with a hammer releases the negativity and anxiety that are common by-products of my association with large groups of frenetic, unsupervised children. Imagine my disappointment to find that it had been replaced by Hammerhead Sharks, which did not provide the same level of satisfaction. I LIKED trying to take the heads off those cute and cuddly gophers, and hitting a mean and scary shark just isn’t the same.
My aversion to kids parties came home to roost when I picked my daughter up from school one afternoon, and a kid next to her said, “Leah, is that your REAL mom?” Because I dropped the kids off in the morning, and either Mark, a grandmother, or another relative did the afternoon pickup and all parties, this child hadn’t seen me in a year; therefore, I didn’t exist. I think that one of the reasons I don’t like these events is that I have to spend all my time listening to the other moms talk about the 15 activities their Einsteins are involved in this week, and how they spent the summer raising sheep to provide the wool for the Pope’s new vestments, or some other accomplishment of magnificent proportions, all the while trying not to gorge myself on forbidden foods such as Cheetos and chocolate cake.
This party was different. I met a nice lady from Poland whose son is the same age as my daughter. She and her husband are both physicians, although she is not practicing due to raising the children without a family network in the area. We discussed the complete insanity of the current move in the government to take over health care. Because she came from a formerly socialist country, she cannot believe that our government is moving toward socialism. “Why don’t they study history?” she asked. Why, indeed? My limited explanation was that the people making the decisions were more concerned with re-election than with making the right decisions. I didn’t have time to clarify this, because we had to cut the cake and open presents.
Renata is not my newest, bestest friend because of our similar political views, but because after eating pizza and talking about carbs, proteins, and the effect of estrogen on aging, she complimented me on my skin and wanted to know what kind of moisturizer I used. She said I had pretty skin and I think she meant it. That, girls and boys, is one way to win friends– sincere compliments.