Monday, August 28, 2006

Nathan to the Rescue

Natalie had her big birthday party on Saturday (though today is her actual birthday), and it turned out great. Everyone who came seemed to have a fun time and all went well. My earlier lamentations were entirely unfounded, it seems, and Natalie couldn’t have been happier. Cake was cut, presents opened, pictures taken, and plenty of food was eaten (ugg… see previous post).

But it almost didn’t turn out like that.

Scheduled to begin at noon, Kara and I ran around most of the morning getting things ready. The sandwiches and vegetable platters needed to be picked up, along with the balloons and the cake. The house needed to be cleaned…and there is a thousand details that always needs to be attended to right before a party (hey, toilet paper doesn’t get in there by itself). The excitement and anticipation of the day began to take their toll on Natalie and I think she might have been getting a little nervous. She was looking forward to it, of course, as it has been the topic of most of our conversations for weeks on end, but when it came right down to it, she might have ended up being a bit overwhelmed.

Guests began to arrive right on the hour, and soon after the front room filled with partygoers, Natalie was nowhere to be found. Everyone wanted to see the girl of the hour all decked out in a beautiful pink dress with purple bows in her hair, a purple pearly necklace and a round ribbon that says “Today is My Birthday,” but she had scampered upstairs and was hiding in her bed under the covers. The party, to her, “was not happening.” Through tears, she wanted everyone to go home. Her ribbon was on the floor, next to the bows and the necklace. She didn’t want any part of it.

Yes, the excitement had finally reached a boiling point. Finally, she was able to allow herself to come downstairs, with coxing of juice and a snack. Kara made her a plate of food and she sat at her table with a disturbed and irritated look on her face, refusing the most gracious of best wishes from the guests.

I had seen this before in Natalie (not to mention I see it all the time in myself). She’s hungry, tired and a little overcooked. Like me, she doesn’t like to be the center of attention. She likes it quiet and subdued. Maybe she’s a little introverted, like me, but also, maybe she doesn’t like people lavishing attention on her. Like her father, the limelight is not for her.

I thought the day had been relegated to one of uncomfortable silences, scowls and Natalie storming off to quieter parts of the house to sulk. I figured it was a done deal, as it is hard to be the shortest person in a room full of giants, each one looking down at you, saying things you might not understand. It’s hard.

But then, the front door opened. Natalie was still sitting at her table staring down her nose at a plate full of food she didn’t want to each, brows furrowed. But then, everything changed when the front door opened. “Nathan’s here,” Kara announced, hoping for a bright spark to burst into her melancholy. Her hopes were fulfilled; Natalie’s eyes grew wide, her mouth gaped open and she gasped in that way a little girl does when she gets excited.

Nathan’s here. Nathan came to her party. All is saved.

The pint-sized partygoer bound into the room and saved the day—all smiles, hair set like a miniature Jerry Lee Lewis. “Happy Birthday, Natalie,” he cheers, his Ts nonexistent. To which Natalie gleefully responds: “Happy Birthday, Nathan,” her THs like Fs. It was the war cry of two veteran comrades. They hugged in that cute way two kids hug, not really sure where the arms go and if they hold it for one second longer, they’re both going down.

All was well again. Natalie was all smiles and the party was a party again. More guests arrived: Grant, Darby and Brooke. Even Matthew found a buddy in Jake, the son of Julie and Joe’s friends, Mike and Linda.

Since then, the house has been a shambles. Before I got sick, I cleaned the dining room and the living room of any party evidence, but the train room and the family room (the kitchen is always a nightmare) are still in tatters. Presents everywhere, and one pretty cool thing she got (from her dear old mom and dad) is a kid’s digital camera. Since she is always interested in taking pictures, we bought her a low-resolution digital camera so she can shoot whatever she wants… as it turns out, she takes a lot of pictures of her feet and the walls, but she’s getting the hang of it.

Shown on the left here is a picture of Natlie with her new camera and on the right is a picture she took with it (notice it is two angles of the exact same moment--cool). The quality isn’t that great, but hey, she’s two… wait, excuse me: My big girl is three now.

Snif. Time sure does fly.

1 comment:

Grant's Mom said...

Very cool description of the party...sorry about the ham and cheese sandwich!! I felt your pain as I read.


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