Last week, my preschool-aged son received an invitation to a birthday party. The nice, brightly-colored card sported children’s cartoon characters and a space announcing date, time, and place for the celebration. Along with this proper invite was a serious-looking note, with nothing but the fine print kind of text, including words like, “liability,” “attorney’s fees,” “substantive action.”
The title read “Acknowledgement of Risk.”
This I am supposed to sign, as the party will be held in a local play facility filled with all kinds of air-inflated equipment: slides, obstacle courses, tubes. It’s one of those places where kids can jump and roll around, ensuring spots for themselves as patients of a future chiropractic clinic, before they crack heads with another little guest, resulting in shrill screams and a family’s quick escape to the minivan.
Call me boring, but back in my day, the birthday celebration consisted of sharing a cake-and-ice-cream supper with our neighborhood friends, then racing up and down the sidewalk on bikes in the remaining daylight.
That one of us might end up with a bruised arm from wiping out at the corner, or a bloodied knee from losing control at the handle bars, was just a given. Few friends were involved, and as the party was home-based, little cost was incurred. An injury set us back nothing more than a little peroxide and a few bandages.
No legal document required.
stock xchnge photo by David Ritter
I’m a fan of the semi-home but definitely cheap birthday party myself. I don’t care for the after-party clean up in my home but I don’t mind it at my church. All our kids really care about is spending time screaming, jumping, laughing, and running with their friends. And a little cake with frosting. Everything else is overkill in my opinion.
Last year I combined a birthday party with one of Ivy’s friends who is 3 weeks older. It was so much fun and we invite a lot of the same people so it was easier for some our guests just to make it to one party, instead of two. We had a cook-out at our friends’ Campus Ministry builiding. I also always request no Birthday presents but suggest they bring something for the food pantry instead. One year I asked that everyone bring some jars of peanut butter in lieu of a present. Ivy helped me deliver it to the food pantry.
Don’t get me wrong though. When Ivy is invited to a party like your kiddo was, WE GO! It’s a chance for this cheapskate Mom to help her kid go somewhere she truly loves. But then again, we go to as many parties as possible, of all kinds. Afterall, my kid just wants to spend time screaming, jumping, laughing, and running with her friends.
That’s true, Holly. When someone else is paying for the food, entertainment, and clean-up, it sometimes makes the decision an easier one.