I dropped coco off at another birthday party. thats one this week, one last week. all these springtime babies.
our neighborhood is beautiful and clean and safe. that’s what you get when you have as much money as the people here. this birthday party is at a house across the street from the school, but still on our street, but on the ‘not rentals anymore’ side, across mt. pleasant. mom is beautiful, sweet, confident. theres a pile of kids in the backyard, a face painter, a bouncy castle. blaze wants to go see. the garden is gorgeous. a patio under a grape vine canopy, paper lanterns. this is money.
mom invites me in, offers me a glass of wine and says she’ll introduce me to everybody else. every other mother there knows each other. blaze is as hesitant as i am, but i decide to give it a decent stab at being social, though already i can feel me sticking out. deadlocks, acne, thrift store clothes and the guy behind the counter at the roti place told me “you look fresh out of high school!” three days ago when i mentioned i had two girls. the moms talk about the face paint, saying how amazing it is. its more or less exactly the patterns i was doing at wonderland. they talk about how crafty and artsy they aren’t, i flash my henna. i tell them I’ve done face paint in the past, its not easy to do, especially on kids.
i look for coco who has acquired a unicorn horn headband and is on the bouncy castle. i take blaze to go see, but shes DEFINITELY not going on that scary thing. when nobody is looking, i leave my wine glass on the table. its nice wine but i’m not feeling it.
moms talk about selling houses (this house is for sale, grape vine canopy and all) and their husbands work. the kids are in their own world.
i stand on the side of conversations, trying to look busy by offering blaze some food from the table, and not finding anything to get me into the conversation. smile and try to get noticed. take coco over to show her the face paint. take comfort in my children. i check out the baby grapes and wonder if they eat them.
these aren’t my people. this is awkward and uncomfortable. this is what money looks like, and i dont think i want to have this life. i could handle the grape canopy though.
I hung around a little bit, looking for gaps in conversation. feeling so desperately out of place. after a while, i found coco, who was plowing her way through the fruit plate, gave her a hug and kiss and told her i was going and would get her later. scooped up blaze, handed her a piece of bread, said goodbye to the host mom, explaining that I had to go make some dinner cause we had a class tonight. we joked about feeding kids, and how for some reason we have to do it every day. “make dinner, didn’t i do that yesterday?” – “you want to be fed AGAIN!?” and slipped out.
walking away felt like abandonment. the part of my brain where all my cave-momma hormones and instincts was asking me why the hell, if I felt unsafe there, was I leaving my kid there? the dull panic in the background of my head was so strong. dont leave her for the lions! what if she gets scared too, you’re walking away from her?!? betrayal! abandonment! it feels terrible.
the truth is shes perfectly fine. those are her friends, even if they definitely aren’t mine. she loves these kids. shes quite comfortable here. those mothers will take care of her if she need anything. if she is upset, they’ll care for her. they’ll feed her, they’ll get her a sweater if it gets cold, they’ll make sure she finds her shoes. i know this. my cave-momma brain is freaking out, however.
when jim got home, i cried and cried and something aches so bad but i cant identify it.