We recently survived Mary Grace's Friend birthday party. Her Family birthday party is tomorrow. There were 22 kids here from 2 - 4:30. We've got 22 relatives coming tomorrow. You can see why the parties needed to be divided.
I went rogue and I didn't plan any activities. I didn't have goodie bags for the kids to take home, either. I also asked our guests to bring donations for the food pantry in lieu of gifts. With 22 relatives coming tomorrow, Mary Grace really didn't need gifts from her friends. A couple of our friends have done similar things (donations of books or school supplies), and I thought it was a very good idea. The kids just went nuts and played. We served apples, grapes, watermelon, chips, snack mix, popcorn, and of course cake and ice cream (actually, we forgot to get ice cream so Colleen ran out to get some - thanks again!). It was very simple and very nice. The kids were really good. Everyone got along. Mary Grace had a great time.
Simple parties are where it's at, y'all.
Yesterday, on her actual birthday, we took her to Dave and Busters down in Indy, which would have been a lot of fun except for two 12 or 13 year old girls stole all of Mary Grace's tickets. They came over and asked us "Who's winning?" while we were playing a driving game, and swiped the tickets while we were distracted. I had a rough idea of their size and age from their voices, so I went looking around for them. They made eye contact with me and then ran - guilty behavior if I ever saw it! I told the girls, "Go find Daddy!" and took off after them. They sat down in a booth and I said, "Did you come up and talk to my daughters and me while we were playing the driving game?"
"No, that wasn't us."
"Then why did you run when you saw me looking for you?"
"Because we're leaving, it's time for us to go."
"Really? If you're leaving then why are you sitting at an empty booth looking guilty? Where are your parents?" I marched them over to the table where their family was, and when their mother appeared I told her what I suspected and why. I said, "I don't want anything from you, but I thought you needed to know what they did." She said, "I'm sorry that happened to you," but didn't accept responsibility. I walked away feeling shaken and sick. The hostess took me outside to calm down. She said, "If some stranger was accusing your kids like that, you'd stand up for your kids, too, wouldn't you?" and I agreed that I probably would, but I would grill them later and extract confessions, and then I would punish them severely - once for stealing and once for embarrassing me in public! I didn't expect her to beat them senseless right there in front of me or anything. But I sure hope they were suitably punished when they got home.
After talking to the hostess, Danielle, I went back in to find BJ and the kids. Mary Grace was sobbing, and even though the restaurant refunded her tickets (we guessed that she'd had between 500 and 1000, so they gave us 750). She didn't understand at first that they'd put them on the debit card thing and that's why we didn't have a bucket of tickets anymore. The whole thing cast a dark shadow over what was otherwise a really good time.
I just don't understand people. I hope those girls learned a good lesson.
Monica was impressed, when I told her the story, that I had confronted them. She said, "Weren't you afraid of getting punched or something?" It never even occurred to me to worry about it. The police and the manager were standing right there by the time I talked to the mother. I guess the pain of getting punched would go away in a day or two, but the anger I would have felt if they had gotten away with what they did would have lasted a lifetime.
Teachable moment for the girls, too, about why we don't take things that don't belong to us, and why we need to take good care of what does belong to us, because there are dishonest people, etc. etc. Ugh. Heck of a lesson to learn on your birthday.
Anyway, I'm exhausted. I have some new books downloaded, so I'm going to go lay on the couch in the family room and read until I can put the kids to bed.