Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Party Girl Lives On

Day 351
When I was little my parents dubbed me their party girl.  I don’t think they meant it as a compliment.  Their tone and delivery made me think “irresponsible” and “party” must be interchangeable.   

Here I am, thirty odd years later, still the party girl.  With a husband, a house, three kids, two dogs and a guinea pig, I have more responsibility than I can handle.  Somehow I’ve managed to blend the two into a working definition of happy.  And that’s OK with me. 

If you ask any kid within a three-block radius of our house, they’ll tell you.  I’m the cookie mom.  I keep ingredients on hand to whip up a batch of chocolate chip treats and a refrigerator full of icings ready for eager hands to decorate. 

Most mornings, you’ll find pencils and crayons scattered across our kitchen table as the boys craft whatever last-minute project I’ve concocted to keep the masses happy and the television off in the hour before the bus comes.

I’m not saying it’s a full-on party all the time but I do believe in putting on the sparkle when an opportunity presents itself.  

This Valentine’s Day week, I’ve been especially busy baking for class parties.  One of my neighborhood favorites is over playing and sits for a while on a kitchen bar stool choosing to watch me fill in cookies with corn syrup icing than run around with the other kids. 

“Mrs. Ellis?  When you were in college, did you get your degree in baking?” 

I smile up at her.  “No, honey.  But you might think so, right?” 

I tell her I have plenty of baked heart-shaped sugar cookies and if she wants her and her sisters can come over after school on Valentine’s Day and we’ll decorate cookies together with the boys.   

I see her dad that night at a school program and he tells me that they have a conflict.  “Thanks for the invite,” he says.  “She’s really disappointed it’s not going to work out.”   

It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m up at 5 am finishing class party treats, packing lunches and making icing.  I think of my neighbor’s daughter and think why can’t it work out?  No one says parties have to be after-school, do they? 

I. calls his friend at 8 am for an impromptu before-school Valentine’s Day party. 

We crank up the Taylor Swift.  I giggle as the country crooner belts out “We’re never getting back together.  Ever.” as we celebrate a holiday built around love.  The irony’s lost on the kids. 

We laugh.  We dance.  We decorate cookies.  We sample a few.  All in all, I say it's a success.  I might go as far as saying a new tradition.  

“Five minutes until the bus,” I call from the kitchen. 

There’s a scramble of backpacks and a search for shoes but we all make it to the corner with a minute to spare.  Inside, two hungry dogs stare longingly at a countertop of drying cookies.  


  1. Can I go back in time and live next to you because I REALLY want you to be my neighbor!! YOU ROCK!! Kids need more people like you in their lives!! :)

    1. Today's "fun" activity was a game of "catch the dogs"! All before the bus in 22-degree weather!

  2. I really admire you. You're the kind of mom I often wish I was. I think kids are so lucky when they have a house like this to live in or go to, where it's always fun and something is going on. But I'm just not that kind of person. I'm much too introverted and have to pysch myself up for social activities like this.

    Like Dose of Reality said, the world needs more people like you. I wish I were your neighbor, too. :)

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