I had hired a clown the year that Jenna turned three. Her first birthday party with friends – one redhead, five blondes, and Jenna with her dark hair.
The clown’s name was Wheeler. Two of my boys told me that I should hire my brother-in-law, Bill – who was actually not my brother-in-law at the time. His wife, Annaleigh had some serious health issues and she would be a priority to whatever party plans I might have made. At the time, I wasn’t aware that he really was trying to get gigs as a professional clown.
So on Jenna’s 6th and 9th birthday, we had Rocko come entertain the troops. It was on her 9th birthday that I realized she had had a clown at her party every three years. I jokingly asked, “ Will you have a clown at your party when you turn 12 and 15?”
She said if it were possible, she would have had Rocko again this year. She decided on a bowling theme party instead. We had planned on celebrating with friends on the 2nd, but decided to wait until after we closed on the house. Poor Jenna hasn’t had her birthday plans fully carried out for the last three years.
When she was ten she forfeited her birthday with friends. We went out to dinner as a family - Mom, Dad, three brothers, three sisters-in-law and a niece. We celebrated her 11th birthday in McMinnville last year. She had absolutely no choice about coming to Oregon.
I think she said she had invited twelve girls – most of whom said they could have gone on the 2nd but not yesterday. She had three guests who attended and at least three of them seemed to have fun. We still wonder if Kyle enjoyed herself at all.
Bella was the first guest to arrive. She was actually waiting there with her aunt before we had arrived. The party started at 1:00. Her aunt said she’d return at 4:00. That seems like a long time, but at that point we didn’t know how many guests would show or how long it would take to bowl.
Kyle arrived before Bella and Jenna headed towards the lane. I typed in the names for the three girls who were bowling. They each had bowled three rounds when Savannah showed up. We got her shoes and added her name. We had fries and cupcakes, but Roland wanted for something more. He was hoping to order a pizza, but I misunderstood.
Before the girls finished their second game, we asked if they would like to go out for pizza, but had each one call whoever would be picking them up so that there wouldn’t be a problem. But there was.
Savannah had the wrong phone number and wasn’t able to get a hold of anyone. Bella was able to get someone right away and Kyle left a message – though I thought she had talked to someone in person. I had told Roland to go out for pizza and bring it back so that we would be at the bowling alley when the rides arrived, but it was raining. Savannah said her ride would not come early. I wish I could rewind and make certain each parent had my phone number.
Savannah and Bella had really enjoyed themselves. Savannah said it was the best birthday party she had been to. She also confessed that it had been the first birthday party she had ever been to. That sounded sad to me.
Bowling was great. Pizza was great. Visiting and entertainment. And then it was time to take Savannah back to the bowling alley. Oh, no. Her ride had already come and gone. Now what? I felt so horrible and kept apologizing and Savannah was trying hard to take the blame and tell me that it wasn’t my fault – but it was. I left my number at the bowling alley (which is what I should have done in the first place) and headed in the direction of Savannah’s home.
As Roland had seemed to shut off his phone, I stopped off at the Pizza Palace to make him aware of the situation at hand. I took Savannah home. She told me that I could just drop her off where she catches the bus but I wanted to talk to her family who hadn't received our message until after the fact.
Her family actually seemed cool about it and thanked me for talking to them and apologizing about the situation. I was invited to bring Jenna to come hang out with them sometime. Savannah may still be punished because she got in the car with strangers. I am so so sorry if that is the case.
As I was making my way back to the Pizza Palace, I heard my phone go off - twice. I knew it was Roland. He knows I don’t answer the phone when I’m driving I didn't understand the urgency. It turned out that Kyle’s parents did not get her message either - or perhaps it was never left? Roland was willing to drive her home. I told her to call her ride to make certain that would be okay.
Her dad arrived in a very angry mood. Poor Kyle. I felt so bad, especially because I don’t think she particularly enjoyed herself, but I could be wrong. She just didn’t seem as vocal as the other three. Jenna says she will talk to her on Monday, and I plan on calling her parents later on today. I hope there are no hurt feelings between Jenna and Kyle because of this.
I have always stayed with Jenna when I don’t know her friends or their circumstances. Maybe I’m just not trusting of others. Of course Jenna is as oblivious as Kyle seemed to be as far as making proper contact. I hope that Kyle understands that her dad’s anger was the result of love. I hope that the situation at hand was a learning experience for each of the girls. (I know it was for me) I hope that this will not be the last party for Savannah or Kyle because of the scare that was involved.
We did not have a clown this year. I think Jenna may be too old for a clown coming to her birthday party anyway. Savannah, for one, was very glad we didn't have a clown.