Party of one
Ever since the birthday party invitation came home in her bag nearly two weeks ago, she’s been at the ready for celebration. “I want to go to Gracie’s party right now,” she’d demand. When I’d calmly explain (for the frillionth time) that there was no party, not yet, anyway, that we had to wait until it was time for the party to happen before we could go to the party, give it up about the party already, she’d just reply matter-of-factly, “But I want the party right now.” This would be stated with a slight whine and arms crossed, or perhaps one hand on the hip, head cocked slightly to the side.
And then, Saturday: THE DAY ARRIVED. Oh, but actually, the party’s not until 4:30. No, not right when you wake up, not after breakfast, not now, no, not now, not after lunch, yes you DO have to take a nap, the party is not until after you wake up. And then even a little bit after that. Go to sleep.
Rosie? Hey Rosie? Guess what. It’s time for the party.
Gift bag in one hand, small excited fingers in another, we walked through the square in town to the bookstore where the soiree was to take place. “Ahoy mateys! Avast! Walk the plank to get yer sword fer swashbucklin’!” were the instructions. Just moment’s pause, a quick hesitation to assess the situation and this crazy lady that she’d seen before, but not with that eye patch and definitely not with that weird crazy look on her face, and then she was off into the thick of the action.
The expected histrionics when she was told it was time to leave didn’t happen, much to my surprise. Only an excited gathering of the party favors and hugs for the birthday girl and declarations to other party goers that she was leaving with me to go to OUR house. Everyone else was going to THEIR house. (FYI.)
We passed a street musician on our walk back to the car. Rosie stopped and stared, saying loudly “Mama, why her DOING that?” I told her she was trying to help people feel happy. “I’m happy!” she replied. “See?” I said. “It’s working!”
But I was only telling a half-truth. I knew the happiness she felt in that spot had come with her—bubbling, effervescent, ebullient Rosie Mae, full of life and light and colorful tights.
Once again, small fingers to hand, gift bag exchanged for party favor bag, we walked through the square and to our car as the sun set on the bookstore and the pirates and the violin player and the man with his face painted on the wall.
And our happiness came with us.