One Tuesday in early December, I get a text message. I don’t know the phone number, but it’s local, from the Stepmother of one of The Child’s friends. Hi, she says, I need to talk with you about my Girl’s birthday party. I’m thinking about a swimming party at the y. Please call me. She gives a date that is a couple of weeks off, and a couple of days before Christmas. I check the calendar and since we’ve canceled most of our plans, there’s nothing on the calendar for that night. So I reply, That date is fine. Thanks much.
I’m surprised to hear from The Stepmother. When I invited Birthday Girl to The Child’s birthday party several months ago, I emailed The Stepmother, and received no reply. When I told The Child, she said, oh, she’s not the stepmother anymore. They got a divorce.
That explained the lack of reply then, but not hosting a birthday party now. I chalk it up to communication misfires and a stressed situation.
The Stepmother calls me a few hours later. Do I know of a Y where she could host a party that night?
I suggest perhaps the Y not far from the elementary school The Child and Birthday Girl attended together. We’ve been to a party there, I tell her.
Please call them and schedule a party. If there is a deposit, I will pay you back, she tells me.
I suggest that she should call the Y, and tell her where it’s located. They will be able to tell you, or suggest another place, I say.
The Stepmother starts crying. She seems to be very upset and confused, and says, she just wants this to happen for The Birthday Girl. That Girl can’t lose another mother, she says, referring to The Birthday Girl’s late mother – I have to do this for my girl. She’s sobbing. She’s calling me from a break at work, she says, and it’s hard for her to make phone calls there.
I’m confused. I’m happy to provide information, of course, but I assumed that she would make any needed phone calls. I actually thought I was RSVP-ing to a party.
But she seems to need help organizing things, so I say, okay, I’ll call the Y and let you know what they say.
She’s very grateful, she sobs. Thank you. Thank you.
She texts me again shortly after we hang up: Awesome LADY IN OUR LIVES, THANK YOU SO MUCH.