I blame myself. Normally, I am quite organized, some might say obsessively so. I have calendars, to-do lists, color-coded receipts, and even notes like “Tell Short to talk to History teacher.” My reminders have morphed beyond the immediate boundaries of myself and are now about helping other people as well.
So you can see how it was bound to happen.
We showed up on time, 7pm sharp, as if it was a flight to Chicago that might leave without us. There were a lot of people there already, they seemed like a surprisingly punctual group, but who could blame them? They were all graduating and couldn’t wait to get on with their fresh, shiny lives, or at least have a good party to look back on. They were laughing and playing badminton and singing made-up songs and tossing bean bag things in the corn hole and sitting around a firepit joking: they looked like an ad for happiness or a very expensive toothpaste.
The Husband and I found model-perfect Laney right away and handed her the card. I had neatly wrapped the pristine, white envelope with a smooth, satin ribbon, indicating that it was more than a card. Yes there was money inside. I didn’t hug Laney when I gave it to her, because truth be told, I didn't know her that well, so instead I said, Here’s another card for LeRoy too and by the way, where is your mom?
Laney pointed toward the house, and The Husband and I dutifully walked in.
We thought we were walking into the family room, but we were actually walking into a design magazine, complete with chandeliers and red refrigerators and avant-garde art and rustic beams. It was all very chic and made me say dumb things like, Where did you get that tile??
I gave Nikki a tight squeeze and told her the house was gorgeous, which she already knew. It was like saying, Hey and we all breathe air! Isn’t that fascinating!
Still, she seemed proud of her home and flattered that I mentioned how great everything was. She never once said, MOV, this is a party is for my son and his twin sister and THEIR friends, no parents were actually invited, so honestly what the hell are you doing here?
No, those words were never uttered. Instead, she and her husband said things like, Would you mind taking this platter of watermelon and putting it on the deck?
I did all the right things. I put the watermelon on the deck. I congratulated Nikki on Laney getting into Yale on a golf scholarship. I asked if LeRoy was excited about going to Tech.
I should have maybe clued in when they didn’t offer me any wine. BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T HAVE ANY. BECAUSE IT WAS A PARTY FOR TEENAGERS.
I saw a big basket of kooky glasses that the plastic frames spell out “2022.” I went to try on a pair and The Husband helpfully mentioned that they might actually be for the kids.
I sashayed around the party holding the basket like a prize and forcing the kids to all take a pair of glasses. When I got to my own son, Tall, he hissed through clenched teeth, Stop it.
As I went to set the basket down, The Husband tugged my elbow. He leaned in and whispered, Time to go.
I can honestly say that this was the first time I truly, truly, truly looked around and noticed not that we were early or hyper-competitively extremely on time or that other parents were just not there yet or maybe running late … instead, I realized to my horror, there were 50 people in that backyard and none of them were over the age of 19.
This was a graduation party. For graduates. We were not invited.
I started to do the mental gymnastics of analyzing all the evites in my brain … we have Susan’s son’s graduation party coming up on Saturday, and then Rodrigo on Sunday afternoon, and then Evan and Tyler’s brunch on Tuesday, and Nick and Davis on Thursday … and I never actually saw the evite of Laney and LeRoy anywhere in the cobwebby crevices of my brain because oh yes there WAS an evite, but it was addressed to Tall, not to me.
How could I be so stupid?
We said a rushed-and-slightly-embarrassed goodbye to our hosts and made up something about how our dog was really sick and we had to check on him, blah blah blah. We slipped out the front door, and I stopped and took a deep breath. I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry or if this was (hopefully) just a very bad dream.
The Husband turned to me and said the only thing he could under the circumstances,
“So, whose party should we ruin next?”