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Family

Girls just want to have fun

The birthday girl, age 5. The only party staple that remains from those days is her love of pink.

There is high excitement in our house.

It is P minus six days and counting. Yes, you read that right. P. As in Party.

Of. The. Century.

Catherine’s Sweet 16 party is Saturday — a small, low-key affair that is consuming a tremendous amount of our attention. Just 10 girls, plus the party princess, getting dressed up, ferried to New York in style, dining out like grownups, then taking a spin around the city’s nighttime glory before returning to our house for sweet treats.

Dessert includes a make-your-own sundae bar whose growing list of toppings threatens to break both the bank and the legs on my dining room table.

Poor Basil will be outnumbered the whole evening. He and I are allowed to ride in the party van, but will be dining at a separate table — invisible but to turn over the credit card at the appropriate time.

When I called to make the dinner reservation, the maitre d’ had empathy for us and noted that he’d had a group of boys with the same setup the previous night.

The preparations have been serious business. Already all the favors are wrapped, labeled and on display. And we spent several hours in the mall yesterday so Catherine could find the “right” dress. I think she tried on just about every option in her size that the Stamford Town Center had before finally deciding on a simple strapless black number.

When she modeled it at home, Basil was silent for a long time before finally wandering off to uncap a beer.

Hair and nail appointments have been made for Saturday morning. Meanwhile, this week promises to be a flurry of shopping, cleaning, decorating and otherwise last-minute fussing.

I managed to talk Catherine out of numerous banners, ribbons and pink plastic martini glasses, but there are zebra-print and hot-pink paper goods to set out, a centerpiece to arrange and pink “jewels” to strew around the dessert table.

It is a far cry from the parties of the past I so carefully arranged.

Like the tea party I created when she was 4 — complete with fancy hats made of doilies, silk flowers and tulle that I spent hours hot-gluing together; a dramatic reading of “Mrs. Spider’s Tea Party”; and games of red light-green light and freeze dance on the front lawn under the helpful eye of our neighbor’s teenage daughter, hired for the afternoon to keep me from losing my mind.

Or the garden party we had when Catherine was 5 — with its flower garden cake (flowers painstakingly created from flattened gum drops, “dirt” made of crushed Oreos — all of it enclosed by a ladyfinger “fence”); pin the petals on the flower game; endless rounds of the hokey pokey (or as Catherine then called it, the hopey dopey); and dress-up contest.

Ah, yes, the garden party cake. Making those flowers sounded so very easy. Until I was there at the kitchen counter for hours flattening those blasted gumdrops with a rolling pin, then using the kitchen shears to shape them.

Or the mermaid party with its treasure hunt around our yard and my triumphant effort at creating a  mermaid cake (think it was easy to create the mermaid’s bra top or arrange Necco wafers to depict scales? And wouldn’t you know the camera broke, so I have no photos of it).

Or the beach party we waited until June to have the year Catherine turned 7. I didn’t quite think through the part about watching a bunch of other people’s children in the waves.

Although enough to set my teeth on edge when it finally dawned on me, thankfully all was fine. We did, however, have to argue with the young lifeguards to secure a table for all our stuff, and I never counted on the damage a little sun will do to cupcake frosting.

Still, it was a fun time. Here’s to Saturday and the additional sweet memories it will bring. (Notice, I didn’t mention anything about how she expects to be DRIVING in very short order.)

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About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.

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