The Gift of a Birthday Party


My Love Interest wanted to throw a birthday party when our daughter turned one. We held it on the beach. I survived the experience while she survived hearing me bitch and moan about it. One of my concerns was all the gifts our daughter might get. While I appreciate the generosity people have towards my child, they don’t have to live with the repercussions. Any possession my daughter can get her hands on she will bang against the floor, throw it all over the house, and try to eat. “We don’t need more stuff”, I said enough times so that my Love Interest wrote on the invitation, “Your presence is your gift.”

People ignored that statement. Fortunately most of the gifts were clothes that are more difficult for our daughter to digest. One attendee followed my dreams by not bringing anything. She is a neighborhood Mom that we don’t really know, but has a child born within weeks of our daughter and so we were reciprocated with an invitation for that child’s birthday.

This party was the most convenient one I could ever hope for. It was held at the playground a couple blocks from our house. Time on that Saturday was running short and my Love Interest wanted to drive around town to find the kid a gift. I told her not to worry about it as the host hadn’t brought a gift to our party.

“I don’t want her to think I’m petty.”

“I’m sure like us they live in a small place and don’t want it any more cluttered.”

She listened to me and we went to the party where our daughter crawled around and tried to sneak into purses that were laying on the grass. I went to munch on some pita chips and hummus when my Love Interest overheard this exchange between the host and a guest.

“Here’s your gift.” said the guest.

“Oh, you didn’t need to.” said the host.

“Come on, what kind of stingy cretin wouldn’t bring a gift to a child’s birthday party.”

So now my Love Interest was feeling guilty. I told her not to worry about it, but the next day she received a text from the host. “Hey, a couple of the gifts didn’t have cards on them. I can’t figure out which one you brought so I get it right on the thank you cards.”

Now she felt really guilty. “I knew we should have brought something.”

I had the perfect solution. “Tell her you brought the stuffed animal.”

“What stuffed animal?”

“A monkey or a lion or a bear whichever one you want.”

“I’m not going to start lying to her.”

“Why not? She’ll probably figure it got left behind in the park and feel guilty and tell you how much her son loved it.”

Apparently  not everyone learned their ethics from old Seinfeld episodes.  They cleared the air through text message, though I doubt we’ll invited to the second birthday party which is just well as we’re busy over here with my daughter eating her way through her second book of the afternoon.


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