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I sat there, on my freshly cleaned couch (thank you o! gods of steam cleaners), in a group of my very best friends. We were eating the greasiest of greasy pizza, occasionally stopping to fetch a rogue binkie or wipe a dirty face. We laughed, talking about the times we’d shared, where our lives had randomly found us, pausing now and again to wipe tears from our eyes.

These people, my friends – my very best friends – they’d flown in from all over the country to celebrate my daughter’s birthday with me. They didn’t have to. I didn’t have to threaten them with a tube sock full of quarters. They did it because they wanted to be there with me, with us, together.

I’d never felt quite so at home in my living room.

It had been so long since I’d sat in my home, surrounded by people who know me as I am, fucked up bits and all, and laughed so hard that I was afraid I was going to whiz myself.

Seeing packages that my friends, my Pranksters, had sent for my daughter, knowing they’d cared enough to send her something for her third birthday, it reminded me of the connections. How lucky I’ve been to know so many wonderful people.

Because I am.

Lucky, that is.

Back when using the Internet cost approximately nine bucks a minute and I used it to fuck with people in chat rooms (oh, like you didn’t), I’d never really understood that there were people behind those words. Even as a blogger, back in 2003, the very notion that the words I hastily strung together would be read by another person was mind-boggling. I assumed my site was read by porn bots trying to increase my penis size, not living, breathing people (I assume that the un-dead don’t have internet access, but I could be mistaken).

I have never been so happy to be wrong. No, not about the un-dead.

When I get asked about making money blogging, after I stop laughing, I’m always a little bit…stung. Not because I don’t understand the desire to make a little cash on the side, but because to me, it’s not what it’s about.

I’ll take the friends I’ve made, the connections I’ve formed over a stack of cash any day.

A pony on roller skates, tho…well, maybe not so much.

band back together

A present from my very best friends who work with me on Band Back Together.

(if you’re a member of the Band and would like to vote for Band Back Together at the Weblog Awards, you may do so here. MWV is nominated too, which OMG, but The Band deserves the award for all of the bravery they’ve poured into our site.)

After obsessing (I’m being kind here) and beating my brain against the wall, trying to allow myself to get over that stupid lump in my throat and just. fucking. do. it, I manged to, this year, talk myself out of talking myself out of planning a birthday for Amelia.

(did you follow that? I barely did)

I had my reasons. They sounded good rolling around in my head. I had my convictions. I held onto them in my grubby ass hands like a bottle of vodka. I didn’t NEED to throw her a party for her – she’d be happy eating Mouse Pizza while I suffered epileptic fits near the pee-smelling ball pit as we all contracted some mysterious Oregon Trail Disease.

That much is true.

She couldn’t care less if we had a zillion people over or if we went and played SkiBall until my arm threatened mutiny. I know my daughter and that’s the truth (truth time – she’d prolly giggle if my arm did, in fact, fall off)(if my severed stump of an arm did fall off, tho, I’d like to hope it would get me 100,000 points on Skiball).

But I had to do it. It wasn’t for her. Or Alex. Or Ben. Or The Guy on my Couch. Or even The Daver.

It was for me.

It was a way to challenge myself to do something that I was entirely certain I couldn’t do. Something I wanted so badly to do. Something that meant well more than eating sugar until we passed out.

It meant that for one day – one single day – I could tell my demons to fuck off, go back to bed, and leave me be. I could drown my anxiety in my little girl’s smile. I could show the world that while I had been knocked down, I wasn’t planning to be knocked out any time soon. That my demons could threaten me all they want, but they weren’t going to stop me from living.

I did it.

It’s a small victory, for sure. A child’s birthday party isn’t exactly the penultimate of challenges, however, it was one. more. thing. I couldn’t properly do. If PTSD hadn’t taken enough away from me, it tried to take that, too.

I call bullshit.

Since throwing the party, it’s as though a minor weight has been taken off my shoulders. Certainly it’s not the first or last challenge I’ll face, of this I am entirely aware. But it is a challenge. And I took that challenge, stared it in the face, and told it that I was, in fact, going to beat it into submission, if I had to go eye of the motherfucking tiger on it to make it scream UNCLE.

It did.

I’m one step closer to kicking PTSD in the taco.

And that feels fucking great.

—————–

How do you battle YOUR demons, Pranksters?

(Also: Band Back Together (which I know many of you are a part of) as well as my own site were nominated for a Bloggie this year. If you’d like to vote for one of the many deserving nominees (myself not included), you can do so here.)

On Saturday, thirty of my favorite people in the world came to celebrate my daughter’s birthday – finally. She was so excited (read: crabby) while waiting for her party to begin that I nearly sold her into slavery. But I didn’t.

We prepared by getting into our party dress:

sweet shoppe party dress

Shockingly, she allowed me to help her pick it out. Generally my suggestions are bullshit in Mimi’s book.

sweet shoppe birthday girrrl

She showed a little sass before complaining that her party wasn’t ready. Guess that next time, I’ll start the party at 8AM. Hope she doesn’t mind if I’m not there. SO not a morning person.

She promptly spilled her morning coffee on her dress, which pissed her off, but she quickly got over it. Her aunts Dawnie and Teala (all the way in from Texas with her boyfriend Brian) and uncles were arriving to help set up the party.

Now, I’m not a party person. I mean, I can do a keg stand like nobody’s business, but when it comes to all artful “this should go…THERE. PERFECT!” I’m pretty useless. One might argue that I’m ALWAYS useless, but that is neither here nor there.

While The Daver and The Guy On My Couch strung streamers, Dawnie and I got relegated to salting the driveway.

(P.S. we did a shitty job)

SPOILER ALERT!

(P.P.S. No one died)

Once the streamers were strung, it was time to bust out the real sweet shoppe stuffs I’d been hoarding.

sweet shoppe table spread

Kinda looks like Willy Wonka barfed everywhere, right?

Right.

I don’t actually know what this is (it could be tampons) – but it was purdy and colorful.

heart candies

I can’t resist something shaped like hearts. It’s against my DNA. Plus COLORS!

Then, an old favorite (that’s a lie) that can double as a toilet brush!

ROCK CANDY!

rock candy jar

Gratuitous snap of rock candy:

rock candy in apothecary jar

(no one ate the rock candy.)(I’m going to pretend it’s because it was pretty, not because it tasted like raw ass)

button candies

Remember these? I do. Back before I had common sense (shut up, I do SO have some now. Like 5. At least.), I remember eating these. By the time I was 8 or so, I was all, WAIT A MINUTE, THIS CANDY TASTES LIKE GARBAGE EVEN IF IT IS SOOOO PRETTY!

I think I got tired of accidentally eating the paper.

And where would a good sweet shoppe party be without weeeee cuppy cakes? (answer: I don’t have an answer)

tiny cuppy cakes

These cupcakes, made by Dawnie (who cannot salt a driveway to save herself), were not only freaking adorable, but delicious. Mmmmmmm….cuppycakes.

Also made by Dawnie were these:

lollipop cookies

Tell me these aren’t beyond full of the awesome. Because you’d be a lying liar who lies.

birthday party ballooons

Instead of adding ribbons to the balloons so they could be dragged around the house, plastering my poor allergic face with latex, The Daver had the bright idea to simply fill the room with balloons.

If I teach you NOTHING else, Pranksters, let it be this: DO THIS FOR YOUR NEXT CHILD PARTY. I swear, the balloons occupied the children for at least three hours.

hello kitty cake

And a Hello Kitty cake for my birthday girl. Made by Dawnie. If she can’t properly decorate the house, at least she can bake. Right?

(I can’t even do that)

For all of the chocolate cake lovers, Dawnie made this:

The birthday girl was quite thrilled by her cake.

sweet shoppe birthday

The day after her party, the kids opened some presents. We always buy the children who aren’t celebrating their birthday buckets of trinkets and stuffs to play with. It helps a little.

Amelia decided to show off her cannibalistic tendencies.

(lookit Alex. Bwhahahahaha!)

OH GOD, MY EYES!

Hello Kitty did NOT go gentle into that good night.

Alex, tearing into his bucket. Ben was hiding from the camera.

sweet shoppe birthday boyGirlfriend is going to be a better photog than me any day now.

hello kitty camera

And lastly, I made people sign something for her bedroom.

I’m totally leaving that fake baby in there.

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