I'm a schmuck.
Chicky and I just returned from a birthday party for two of my friend's children, who both turn two years old this week. Last year we were all having low key birthday parties for our kids, just some lunch and hanging out with friends. No muss, no fuss (okay, a little bit of fuss), and most of all... No presents. It was simple and easy and relatively stress free. According to the evite I received, this year's party was going to be even more laid back since there were going to be less people. Great! I love that idea. That's what I was planning to do for Chicky's second birthday in a couple of months - keep it low key. I have enough stress in social situations without having to add to it.
Since I was the last to arrive I didn't notice anything unusual about this get together. There were a couple of new faces but for the most part it was the same small group of friends. We played, had lunch, ate some cupcakes and then it came time for presents.
Guess who didn't bring presents.
Guess what everybody else brought.
I was mortified. I'm sure my cheeks were pink with embarrassment, especially after my girlfriend said, while trying to sort through the wrapping paper for the toys on the floor, "We didn't miss anything, did we?" And then she looked at me and I was forced to shake my head, no.
No, you didn't miss anything. I'm a schmuck.
I made the biggest birthday faux pas. I was the guest who didn't bring gifts for the birthday boy and girl. As soon as all the wrapping paper was picked up I got our coats and hurried Chicky out of there quickly, muttering something about it being way past naptime. The entire way home I chanted "Stupid, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid." It's hard to drive a car when you're banging your head against the steering wheel.
I'm so mad! I'm mad at myself and at everyone else, too. I'm mad that the rules changed and no one thought to tell me - remember, I said last year we didn't do gifts. But I'm also mad because I never thought that they could change. It barely occurred to me. Sure, I thought that at some point, when they were older, we would start doing gifts for the kids. And I thought about it while pulling into my friend's driveway, that maybe a couple of the other people would bring something, mainly the people who were old friends of the hostess, but it didn't even cross my mind up until that point. That's not how our group functions, or so I thought.
Apparently, that is exactly how it functions.
Of course there's more to this story. You knew there had to be. Unfortunately, this is just the culmination of months of feeling inadequate when around these women. I'm the one that will forget to restock the diaper bag before heading out to one of their homes for a playdate, only to have my kid take a huge dump at their house. I'm the one who never has the portable highchair for lunchtime playdates. Or how about the day that the other women decided ahead of time to let their kids play in the wading pool at someone's house after our playgroup. They all had sunscreen and bathing suits, sun hats, water sandals and swim diapers ready to go for their kids. Me? I never got the email, apparently it was sent to the wrong address. I had to mooch an extra swim diaper off of someone. If not for that diaper my kid would have been completely naked, which would have been fine if I didn't already feel like a horrible mother for not having some of those things ready to go in my bag. And, no, it does not make me feel the least bit better that it was someone else's fault for sending the email to the wrong address. I should have been ready, just in case. Because mother's are supposed to be ready for those types of situations.
There are loads of other tiny, almost inconsequential moments. Moments that would be easy to laugh off if not for the amount of times that they've happened. But put them all together and add to them the big elephant in the room - the fact that my kid is so far behind the others in language development - and it leaves me feeling like a complete failure as a mother. I'm always a day late and a dollar short. They're always two steps ahead and I'm always running to catch up. I'm scarred from all the tripping and falling.
Yes, I'm feeling sorry for myself. I made a silly mistake and I'm making it worse by drudging up old incidents. But why, for once, can't I be that mom that seems to have it all together? Or maybe, just once, they could let me see them stumble. And then I wouldn't feel like such a schmuck. Which, in this case, is synonymous with being a bad mother.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
I'm a schmuck.