Christina M. Currie
Christina M. Currie's Touch of Spice column appears Fridays in the Craig Daily Press. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Someone who had just met me and my girls for the first time at a picnic last weekend said I looked like a really good mother.
That surprised me, because the clearest memory I have of that day, other than drenching the Craig Daily Press publisher with a tub full of water (you're welcome, by the way, to all those who are clapping right now) was of pegging my girls with water balloons when they weren't looking and pretending to run when they tried to retaliate (there wasn't any reason to really run. There's a lot more emotion than accuracy in their aim).
Still, it's always nice to get a compliment, especially when you're feeling like you don't particularly deserve it. And that comment reached my ears at a time when I knew I didn't deserve it.
We celebrated Katie's seventh birthday Sunday. Guests arriving at the park for the festivities were greeted by an army of balloons, festive streamers, the smell of grilling meat, drinks galore and a big "Happy Birthday" banner.
Just beyond that, in a fairly shade-free area, was my party - two tables and a hastily assembled tent that I grabbed when I realized the cake was melting. Chairs weren't arranged in a friendly circle. No, they followed the stingy line of shade from two trees.
I didn't cook any of the food served. Yeah, all of my offerings came in boxes and bags made with a single phone call to the deli.
I don't suppose it mattered to Katie, who ate nothing but cake anyway.
And as much as I wanted to find the mother of the kid at the other party and ask if I could buy her services, I realized I did do one thing that mattered to Katie more than all the balloons in the world - using the sketchy information she provided, I managed to track down her best friend from school, whom she hadn't seen since May and had no hope of seeing again until August.
When the two saw each other, they outdid any movie scene depicting a soldier reuniting with his love after a long tour of duty.
I'm surprised there weren't any injuries considering the speed at which those two connected.
There's your "Happy Birthday" banner, supermom. (You can't see me, but I'm sticking my tongue out right now).
To tell the truth, the only reason for the frills is that they make pretty pictures and impress other adults. As far as the kids are concerned, it's all about the presents. Having a cake and some other kids to play with are just icing on what already was a perfect day.
I have to say that, as far as presents went, Katie made a heck of a good haul. If there was any doubt, it was alleviated when a group of kids came up to our table and asked how much we wanted for Katie's new Doodle Bear.
Without the balloons, without the streamers, without the banner and with only a stack of toys and a few lawn chairs, our setup evidently resembled a yard sale more than a birthday party.
Considering the load I had in the car going home, maybe that wasn't such a bad thing.