“Can I have a party?”
Five simple words, that struck horror into my soul. Long gone are the days of jelly and ice-cream with pass the parcel; I had spent hours earlier wrapping. Now a muffled memory is the magic show which turned peaches into goldfish, even the three fish have finally departed to a heavenly goldfish bowl in the sky. The waterpark with a KFC just isn’t cool any longer and the idea of a paintballing or karting party does not appeal to 17 year olds.
Thinking I had weeks to get out of this one I waved the idea from my mind like a bad smell wafting through the kitchen. Just like the odorous aroma it continued to return. Our nightly discussions over our meal took on an wave of repetitiveness.
Can I have a party?
‘Because I say so’ no longer holds the same air of authority when your son is approaching 17 and stands a foot taller than you. Sexy Sporty Dad and I had to come up with a stronger objection than that and quickly.
What is the real objection here; why are we scared of allowing a group of hormonal, drunk and emotional teenagers take over our home and kitchen for a night? They might be sick. They might break or destroy something precious like the house. They may get themselves into trouble or injured and being hormonal drunk and emotional would probably not know how to deal with it.
You hear on the news about children having parties and the house being wrecked or someone taking something they shouldn’t even have access to and becoming seriously ill. Are we being harsh tarring our son with the same brush as those other children who absent minded allowed their secret party publicised and then were unable to stop the devastation as they were overrun with professional party demolishers.
I attended a charity ball some while ago now. I had spent many weeks convincing friends and colleagues to join one of my tables for a wonderful evening of eating, drinking and merriment. As we all sat down one couple turned to another and said thanks for having our son for the evening. A bemused look appeared on their faces until it was explained their kind son had invited the boy to spend the evening at the his house.
Alarm bells did not ring until another couple arrived after the first course and mentioned that theytoo had stopped at the party to control some over zealous party goers as they dropped their son at the same house. It was the comment about bravery allowing the party while they were out that proved to be the trigger to galvanise him. He fled the table returning home to a very loud and uncontrolled party. We saved his main course and pudding, he managed to get back again for coffee, biscuits and the main merriment. The now cancelled party at home was being cleaned up by his son and the remaining sons from our group who were now all suitably chastised.
No 1 Son was at least asking to have his party and I knew he seemed to be on a circuit of partying since his GCSEs last summer. It was a small group of about 20 who were working round the houses in some sort of rite of passage. The clue was that the group had been allowed back to the houses even after the party had happened.
Of course I at that age attended parties regularly. I had my own circle of friends who all attended the more formal fundraising events and my right of passage was assured as we drank a little too much, partied too much and learnt quickly how to disguise a hangover from our parents.
Something still prevented my agreement to this transition through teenagedom.
Is it that I remember my party held at home as a teenager. My parents were away for the weekend, a rare event in itself, I was looking after not only the house but some of my siblings as well. We decided to invite a few well chosen friends over for the evening with a few beers and wine.
The night went well, everybody enjoyed themselves. There were no broken glasses, no ruined masterpieces and the inherited family furniture had no carvings. In the words of every Scooby-Do criminal “we would have gotten away with it except for the pesky dog”.
I feigned serious concern to the dog’s wellbeing after all maybe she had contracted the infamous blue doggy ringworm. Had she had a serious allergic reaction to the blueberry pie she may have helped herself to. Or maybe the mushrooms around the trees she liked to play near really magic : blue magic.
My bewildered parents may not have guessed the whole range of our duplicity had one of my younger siblings not dubbed us in. The same sibling whose friends I had not allowed to the party on the grounds they could not get to our house out in the back of beyond and I was not spending the night driving them to and from when I had been given the remit of staying and looking after the house.
I use the nagging tactic a lot. No 1 Son has watched me hassle, harass and hound people to attend fundraisers or to support my attempts to raise money for his team. He has grown up watching my determination, deviousness and dedication to a cause so inevitably he was going to use the same tactics with us.
We agreed to the party on condition. It was invitation only and not publicised on social media. The house was clean before and after. Nobody smoked inside and no-one was sick. Middle Son was invited.
My good friend Natty invited us around for the evening and mini son was allowed to stay the night with her. With a bottle of wine and trepidation we were ushered smartly out of the back door as people began arriving at the front. I did mention to the surrounding neighbours that there was a party and if there was any problem to call us.
The wonderful thing about Natty is not only is she a very good friend she is also one of my very close neighbours and hence Mini Son and Mini Nat watched the party from an upstairs window with running commentary on who was in, who was out and what they were drinking. Unless we actually stood outside her front door we could not hear the noise or chatter.
We drank, debated and discussed the merits of home parties before finally dozing. We decided to return to our own beds. Sneaking, like gatecrashers through our front door we climbed the stairs to bed about 12.30 in the morning. At 2am I sent a text to Middle Son who was the only person aware of our return.
“please turn music down or I will have to turn it off”
The noise became a low rumble and I fell asleep only to be woken early the next morning to find youngsters busy tidying my house for me. The only tell-tale signs of a party
were a table full of empties and the fact that the house was so tidy.
Tucking into my evening meal last night I coughed and choked on a chipolata when No 1 Son asked
“Can I have a new year’s eve party?”
Check out my cooking blog at Teatime Treats with Tiggy