J. offers me a glass of Barolo while costumed little girls run wildly through her house, shrieking.
The little girls are all dressed in the same dress though in different colors, except for the daughter who is happily dressed as a pirate, complete with an eyepatch I donated and an earring from her great-grandmother's costume jewelry collection.
I've known many of these parents for years, but I am easy with only a few of them, and of those present only J. really, so I accept the glass of wine.
I sip my wine and make an effort to attend to the conversation which revolves around a) the fires, b) the class Halloween parties to be held at school next week and c) the fact that the daughter's class has no room parent. This is something that needs to be dissected and examined, exclaimed about and worried over.
I've already spent four years as a room parent, two years each for each child, when both were much younger. It is an exhausting and thankless job, and I'm more than happy never to do it again. Still, I always seem to end up on committees for things.
With regret, I hear myself say unenthusiastically, "I'll talk to the teacher on Monday."
Shrieking little girls run back the opposite direction, destination bounce house.
I surreptitiously check my watch. The spouse is supposed to rescue me at 5.
JB, my other mommy friend, shows up, and I relax a little. JB could not be more unlike me, but we were seatmates on the tourbus during the dreaded 4th grade trip last spring, the good girls on the bad bus, as we called ourselves, and we found a lot to laugh about. We settle in for a chat.
Shrieking little girls run downstairs.
I have nursed my Barolo for an hour and a half; J. offers me a second glass and brings out some wonderful French cheese.
The spouse arrives, and co-opts my wine. I point him toward the food, and suggest to the daughter that we will be leaving in 15 minutes. She rejoins the shrieking little girls.
As we begin to make our farewells, J. is putting together tremendous plates of food for me to take to the son, telling me about her frustrating efforts trying to get tickets to see Hannah Montana. G., her husband, murmurs disparagingly about that and tells us proudly about taking their teenage son to see X recently. The spouse and I laugh and mention that we, too, have seen X. G. calls to another guest, "They're X fans too!" Preppy M. exclaims in glee, and G. says, "And we all look so normal."
We spend an enthusiastic few minutes talking about the shows we've all seen lately.
Someone taps my arm, and I turn to the mother beside me. She asks, "Now you are going to talk to the teacher about the Halloween party, right...?"
When worlds collide.
Go listen to some good music: "We're having much more fun" from the album More Fun in the New World by X.