I haven’t done this before, but today is my oldest girl’s birthday. She just transitioned from the awkward age of 12, to the even more awkward age of 13. So officially, I now have a teen living under my roof and that is bad news. I’ve heard that they can be kind of a pain.
I want to wish her a happy birthday. She is lucky because she is 50% her mother. She is kind to a fault, very sweet toward anyone who is less fortunate, or who is physically or mentally disabled in any way. It wouldn’t surprise me if she worked in that capacity when she gets older. She is also a talented artist and has a passion for acting on stage. I know she didn’t get that from me, because camera’s turn me into even more of an idiot, but she has an amazing ability to memorize lines that I still haven’t captured. Plus, she has a pretty advanced grasp on the foreign language (to some) of sarcasm.
Unluckily, she is 50% me. This mean that she is socially awkward like me. She relishes her alone time and keeps a very tight ring of friends. She has some, but can very easily do without them too. Around her birthday every year, she decides to be brave and get a little social and invite people to a party (which she avoids most every other chance she gets). Anyways, she decided to have one at a local arcade/amusement facility. Everyone has one. They are like Chucky Cheese, but a little more grown up.
So she invited 7 girls, some of which she only kind of knew. Only 3 RSVP’d so we weren’t sure how many would come. I was hoping only a few came, because it would have been more easily manageable. Just kidding. It was hoping I wouldn’t have to pay all this money for a bunch of kids.
The awkwardness started right up front when one of the girls showed up 10 minutes early. I came home and my girl, my wife and the girl were desperately trying to come up with something small talky to say, before the rest showed up.
Then a couple more show up, but they didn’t add anything to the mix. Just a bunch of girls her age that are supposed to be jibber jabbers and they’ve got nothing to say. So we are all waiting on our couch, in the sweltering heat, for one last girl to show up. It is hot, and sweaty because our house still doesn’t have the air conditioning, and no one has anything to say. Finally, a half hour later, the girl we are waiting for shows up.
The plan was to cram all the girls into my wife’s car, and me and the boy go in mine. But because everyone that was invited came, even though we weren’t sure, they couldn’t all fit in. So all the girls, except mine, rode with my wife, while I took her and the boy.
So, some of the girls she knew from school and some from church. Since they only kind of knew each from each, there was a lot of not talking. When we finally got to the arcade, I thought they would split off, go their separate ways, and find a way not to be awkward, but almost 8th graders don’t know how to do that, so they decided to all stand in a line together, waiting for some bumper boat ride that you were supposed to shoot each other with water.
I almost couldn’t stand the awkwardness, so I went off to stand in the sun watching my son miss pitch after pitch in the batting cage. He decided that he was going to swing at medium speed baseballs, because he can hit my really slow pitches a long way.
My wife and I spent the rest of the party walking back and forth, trying to keep tabs on who was where, buying really expensive pizza, and trying to decide when to leave, so one girl could get to her appointment.
When we did come back, I thought everyone would filter out quickly after the presents were open, and cupcakes were consumed, but no. They lingered. Not figuring out the social cues that they were supposed to leave. And then they decided to tell jokes. Can I just tell you that kids that age should never consider being comedians?
Finally, I couldn’t take the awkwardness anymore and when my son asked if we could go outside and play, I immediately jumped at the chance. Normally, he can’t pry me off the couch, but the couch is so much less fun when the awkwardness is lingering.
Please remind me to never take a deal where I have to go back in time to 7th grade and have to be a girl at a party. I might just die of awkwardness.
Bitter Table of Awkwardness Ben