The Birthday Party is the third story about Amy. When Amy's son wants a party the same as his friends in venues which are costly Amy is in turmoil how can she explain to a 7 year old child that she cannot afford parties.

The Birthday Party

Amy stood at the school gate chatting to the other mums waiting for the children’s school day to end. “Did Simon enjoy Jack’s party last Saturday?” Jack’s mum asked her. “He has never stopped talking about it” replied Amy “it was an excellent venue for the children”.
The party had been at a local farm where the children were allowed to feed some of the animals and have a tea party in the cafe attached to the farm. Amy had to search the shops to find a reduced toy which she could afford as a gift for Simon’s friend. These parties were becoming very competitive and it seemed a new venue was popping up every couple of weeks. Simon and her daughter Tara had been to parties in play areas, McDonalds, KFC, ice rinks, football stadiums and now the farm. In a couple of weeks it would be Simon’s birthday and he had already started to ask if he could have a party in one of these venues. Amy was well aware that the cost per head for all the children she would need to invite would be just impossible but a 7 year old child cannot understand why he is unable to have the same things as his friends. It had been hard enough when it was Tara’s birthday two months ago but at 5 years old she had just started school so Amy had been able to get away with a family tea party and a few cheap toys. At 7 Simon expected the same as his classmates. “If you wish I can give you the details for children’s parties at the farm” Jack’s mum’s voice broke into Amy’s thoughts. “Thank you” Amy replied “We have not decided what to do for Simon’s birthday yet”. “Well you need to get a move on as these places get booked quite a bit in advance” said Jack’s mum. “Oh here’s the children” Amy said moving towards the gate and thereby halting the conversation.

“Mummy did you hear me?” Tara’s voice broke into Amy’s thoughts. “Sorry Tara what did you say?” said Amy forcing her mind back to listen to her daughter. “Can I play out when we get home?” said Tara. “Yes until your tea is ready” Amy smiled down at her little girl.
She would try again at tea time to explain to Simon why he could not have a party at the ice rink or the farm.

Amy set the table and called the children in from the garden. “Tea is ready come and get your hand’s washed” she called. “Beans on toast again” said Simon as he sat down at the table. Beans are cheap thought Amy but what she said was “Beans are good for you Simon they are full of fibre”. “Simon” Amy hesitatingly began “you know since Daddy lost his job we cannot afford the things we used to do so we do not have the money for parties”. “I know” said Simon picking up his knife and fork “but daddy said you would sort something out”. “Well” went on Amy “the kind of parties which your friends have are very expensive and we simply cannot afford any of them”. Simon’s bottom lip started to quiver “but I have told all my friends they will be getting invitations”. A large tear started to appear in his eye and Amy felt awful. Why do I have to do all these things she thought and why does Tim offload all these things onto me. “I will see what I can manage” Amy found herself saying. As Amy cleared away the children’s tea dishes Tim came through the back door. “Why did you tell Simon I would sort out his birthday party?” she said anger creeping into her voice. “Well you get all the benefits I only have what you give me” Tim fired back. “But I can’t work miracles” cried Amy “you sort the money out see if you can do any better”. Amy fought to keep the tears from falling. Tim flopped down on the kitchen chair and putting his head in his hands he started to sob big heart breaking sobs. Amy had never ever seen Tim cry. Suddenly she realized that she had never thought how Tim must feel now that he could not be the provider for his family he could not bring himself to tell his son he could not afford to give him a birthday party. Amy ran and put her arms around Tim “I am sorry love I know it is hard for you things will get better they have to”. “I have walked around every building site I could find today” sobbed Tim “nothing no-one has any work.” “I know love you must be worn out I will make you some tea” Amy soothed.

Amy came down the stairs from putting the children to bed Tim was in the lounge watching TV. “Tim I am going to slip down the road to see Mrs Brown for an hour” Amy called from the doorway. Amy slipped on her coat and shoes she always felt calmer after talking to Mrs Brown. “Hello dear I was not expecting you this evening” Mrs Brown greeted Amy as she opened the front door. “I need to talk through a problem as usual” said Amy as she followed Mrs Brown into her kitchen. “I always seem to find a solution after I talk to you” smiled Amy. “That’s good dear” Mrs Brown replied as she set the kettle to boil. As Mrs Brown poured tea into two china cups and placed a plate of biscuits in front of Amy she said “now what is happening with your little family at the moment”. Amy told Mrs Brown about Simon’s birthday and the fact that it was expected that birthday parties were now celebrated in costly venues. “When my children were small we made our own parties, we made our own decorations, games and catering and everyone had a grand time” Mrs Brown said dipping her ginger snap into her hot tea. “Yes when I was small all my parties were celebrated at home” Amy replied thoughtfully. “Why don’t you set a new trend for these children and have a house or garden party” Mrs Brown said with a hint of excitement in her voice “I will help you with catering and decorations. “Will you” Amy said catching the excitement “we could decorate the garden and make it into a fairground theme”. “What a good idea” cried Mrs Brown “we can make toffee apples and chips in paper cones that won’t cost much and we can make stalls with roll the penny, hoopla, knock the tin cans over all with small prizes instead of those goodie bags” “The children will love and Tim can make the stalls I knew I would find a solution talking to you” smiled Amy “you are like my fairy godmother”.

Three weeks later Amy was again waiting at the school gates. Jack’s mum caught her eye and walked over saying “Jack has never stopped talking about Simon’s birthday party what a good idea. “Yes” chirped in Mandy’s mum “you have really topped all the venues Mandy has asked me for a fairground theme for her party so can you give me your event organizer” Amy smiled “Mrs Brown but this was a one off she only helps her personal friends.

The Birthday Party

Copyright for The Birthday Party
Margmax 2011

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