Cameron has just one friend that we keep in touch with from our old daycare, a little girl who is seriously just like him. When they get together and play they are both wild and crazy kids who crack themselves up over things that the rest of us just don’t understand.
Matt and I first met her a little over a year ago when Cameron asked if he could invite her to his birthday party. He invited quite a few kids from his daycare to that birthday party, but she was the only one who actually came. They had such a good time together at the party that we exchanged phone numbers with her parents so that we could get the kids together on occaision for play dates.
A little over a month later, her birthday party came around. We got the invitation in the mail, and Cameron was as excited as I’ve ever seen him. First of all because this was the first birthday party he’d been invited to that wasn’t one of his cousins, and second because it was his little girlfriend. We hung the invite on the refrigerator, RSVP’d for the party, and went on with our day.
During this point in our lives we had just made the decision to try and keep me home. So Matt and I were working out the logistics of that; notifying my work, the daycare, and the after school program of all our last days, cancelling our cable, cutting back any other bills we could etc. Needless to say life was hectic as can be. We still had the invitation to the birthday party hanging on the refrigerator to remind us that the party was coming up, but as I glanced at it one day I realized that the date of the party had come and gone.
Somehow in all the hubub we had forgotten which date her party was on…and we missed it. You have no idea how badly we felt. Cameron had wanted to go to that party more than anything else, and I’m sure his little friend was just as disappointed as he was. We called and apologized to her parents for missing the party, and invited her over for a playdate the following weekend. I ran to the store and got her a birthday present for Cameron to give when she came over.
Since then, we’ve kept in touch as much as possible with her family. She’s invited Cameron over a couple of times, and we’ve had her out to our house a few times as well. The kids really have a great time playing together one on one like that. She’s always a little shy coming over to our house at first, but eventually she opens up and they have fun doing whatever it is they do.
So this year we invited her to Cameron’s birthday party again, and as you’ll recall we had a huge turnout for the party. We felt really bad because his little friend gets very shy in large groups like that, especially one where Cameron is the only kid she knew. We tried to introduce her to some of the little girls from Cameron’s pre-school class but she spent most of the party in tears. The only times she was happy were when she got to interact with Cameron directly. So we did what we could to accomodate her.
At the end of the party her parents mentioned that they’d be throwing her a birthday party the following month and would be sure to send an invitation to Cameron. Matt and I made a pact that come hell or high water we would make sure Cameron went to that party. There was no way we were going to miss it a second year in a row. We knew her birthday was around Memorial Day, so around mid-May we started watching for the invitation. But one never came.
We figured something must’ve come up. We knew from talking to them at the party that they had a busy May planned and figured they must not have been able to throw the party after all, or that they could only invite a small number of kids and Cameron got cut from that list. We were a little sad, but there was really nothing we could do about it.
Then out of the blue an invitation to her birthday party arrived on Wednesday night. My assumption that they’ve been too busy to have the party must have been right after all. The party was scheduled for Sunday, June 16 from 1-3. Sunday. Father’s Day. We had plans for Father’s Day so I wasn’t sure how we were going to work this out, but Matt put his foot down, Cameron was going to the party. We’d figure out how later.
Brendan was having a not so stellar day that day and between his meltdowns, dinner, and bedtime we forgot to mention the party to Cameron. But we remembered it, and the invitation was stuck up on the refrigerator as a reminder. On Thursday we got a call from the little girl’s mom making sure we’d gotten the invitation since it was sent out on such late notice. She said there had been a mixup with the party venue and they’d had to get it straightened out before the invites could go out. We confirmed Cameron would be at the party.
That reminded us that we needed to tell Cameron about the party. I called him upstairs to tell him, and the shriek of joy that he let out could have been heard 3 counties away. We decided that as soon as we got our dinner eaten that the family would pile into the van and go shopping for her birthday present. That was the plan anyway. What actually ended up happening was that Brendan had another meltdown about going to the store, so Cameron and I went by ourselves.
As we drove to the store I asked Cameron what he thought his little friend might like. He thought for a moment and suggested his favorite thing in the whole wide world, Skylanders. I veto’d that idea immediately knowing there was little to no chance that his little girlfriend would be into that same game. For that matter I don’t even know if she has a video game system or not. He protested just once saying, “But I could get her a couple of the girly ones.”
As we went shopping for her birthday card and wrapping paper I talked Cameron out of the whole Skylanders idea. When he was finally convinced that it was a bad idea, I asked him where he’d like to start looking. His response was, “Well, if I can’t get her Skylanders then I guess I’ll just get her something pink.” And with that proclamation he made his way back to the toy aisles and picked up the first four “pink” things he found; a pink hula hoop, a giant purple rubber ball, a Hello Kitty sprinkler attachment, and a rubber duck that lights up when you throw it on the ground.
I added up the cost of the items and found it was actually way under my usual birthday budget, so cost wise it was no problem. The collection of odds and ends seemed a bit odd at first glance, and I briefly considered talking him into buying some more mainstream girls toys. But I decided against it. 1. Because I was so proud of my buddy for doing the shopping all by himself. 2. Because upon further thinking, everything except the duck made sense. They were toys she could play with outside in the summer. 3. Because these are presents I knew he’d love to receive (or at least the boy colored versions) and they are so much alike that I knew she’d like them.
He was so proud of himself as we loaded the presents onto the conveyer belt at the checkout counter. He told the cashier all about the presents and his little friends birthday party. We headed home and he went into the whole thing again for daddy, and then a third time for Brendan as he climbed into bed. He could hardly wait for Sunday to get here, and it was still a full 3 days away.