This time, I was well-organised. Class list, tick; cake and candles, tick; venue hired, tick; invites and irrational text messages answered, tick; and one hyped up mother, tick.
Oversized goals bought, an oversized birthday badge, oversized presents wrapped, my love is big, huge, enormous, and I was saying it with all sorts of tripe. I've had a few years to practise and nothing says love, happiness, and successful parenting more than one gigantic helium balloon. Perhaps I should have got the bigger one.
The build-up to the party was immense. From the actual birthday and round one with the family to round two, which was about to commence, the outdoor football party, followed by round three, the family after-party; Three cakes, one small child.
I'd made peace with the fact that my weekend was being compromised for my son's affections and, to rid myself of any guilt I have about my capabilities as a mother, I was more than happy to indulge him.
On the morning of the said event, the wind and the rain were pishing down, blowing a gale and, worst of all, wreaking havoc with my birthday plans. My inner voice was telling me to be calm, to enjoy, be rational and to lovingly celebrate my son's birthday and be grateful for all my blessings. I was trying this but it manifested itself into something quite different. I'd like to call it hype. Excitement. Keenness. Effort. Enthusiasm.
The typical Scottish weather would pass and the sun would shine and all would be glorious. The children, my interaction with parents, the birthday boy, the twenty or so little darlings, the two-hours of play, and the weather would serendipitously and beautifully come together. It would be the six-year-old birthday party of all parties. But doubts were creeping in and wreaking havoc with me.
I would do rational tomorrow. Today, I was freaking out. I hurried down to the location, hair thrown on top of head, make-up absent and dressed in full-spandex running gear as I knew my endurance would be tested.
My 9am entry would show how serious I was about how the day was going to unfold. On arrival, I spoke to the receptionist about the weather and her plans to ensure the afternoon wasn't a washout.
"It's an all-weather pitch we provide." She was smiling while pain etched across my face. Storms weren't within my plans.
Straining to smile, I forced myself to speak, only shrieking ever so slightly, and uttering that as they were five and six, perhaps the gale force winds outside would interrupt play. In truth, I was more worried about the parents as they'd freak.
A queue was growing behind while I gave a step-by-step weather forecast and my predications for the day, wiping the smile clearly off my listener. She was beginning to share my concerns.
I removed myself. Something inside me removed me. I think it's called sense.
Of course, I know I was being irrational. All the talk in the press of birthday party mammas being irrational, greedy, missing the point of it, weighed heavily on my mind. Yes, yes, quite ridiculous behaviour from others, and it hasn't given we mothers, who indulge in party planning annually, the best reputation.
But they weren't dealing with the weather, were they?
I know I don't want to be one of those, the shame, but I don't give a bleep right now.
I swiftly took myself for a run since I'd dressed for the occasion, and berated myself for my stupidity at organising an outdoor party in this bloody freezing country in which I live. Typical, just typical, I repeat, probably aloud. I can't remember. I wasn't at my best.
The rain battered off my face, smacking me, as I ran around in a big circle. The pishing rain suited my mood. My feet, my feet, are wet now too, I howled. Soaked right through and it serves me right. I was left to lick my wounds, blow dry my hair and apply copious amounts of make-up, which worked with the reception asking me if that was my sister this morning. Yes. I've a sister. Well, I'm not lying.
To the woman in reception who doesn't control the weather, I'm sorry. To anyone I splashed in the park running around in a tantrum, I'm sorry. To myself, I'm sorry. To any higher beings, not my proudest moment. Must do better.
To my son, I love you more than any oversized object, more than the weather, more than love and more than anything I could ever think of and much, much more than helium balloons.