Daughters of the Dirt / Sarah Higdon

American Birthday
Jenny Hannah Moore

Dear Friends!

We hope that you'll join us at Bounce-A-Rama this Saturday, from 10am-12pm, for Joshua's birthday Party! As you know, Bounce-A-Rama is a hermetically sealed warehouse filled with a multitude of inflatable recreational possibilities! It's located in a nondescript strip center between Luby's and the Dollar Store -- see enclosed map! Only at Bounce-a-Rama can you enjoy a private, indoor party with giant interactive inflatable play structures! Please wear clean socks, and bring the signed waiver negating Bounce-A-Rama from taking any responsibility for your child's well being!

When you arrive at Bounce-A-Rama, you and the other guests will be escorted to the holding tank before you are directed into the Bounce Room! At this time, you will be asked if you have a present! We are not so materialistic to encourage presents, but if you would like to be held in high esteem by the rest of your peers, we recommend that you bring at least something for Joshua so that others do not take notice as they are arriving! 

While in the Bounce Room, be prepared to lose sight of your children! Be prepared to lose mental focus! Reactions vary! Those of you who are accustomed to franchise birthdays will stand on the sidelines smiling like a big clown, waiting until your child needs something from you! Others, (those of you originally from blue states where children are still free to gather in small groups in grassy areas called "fields") will feel claustrophobic! If this is the case, please lay prone on the floor and focus on the specially-designed star patterned wall paper! In a moment, you will regain consciousness! Expect also for your children to endure a process of adjustment, behaving like small projectiles as they experience for the first time what it is to be young and American in the inner depths of a converted Big Box store! Watch them as they slip and slide, experiencing the full range of motion as they come into contact with  industrial-grade plastic!

You may find that the younger children grow tired of Bounce-a-Rama! Fatigue is one reason! Anxiety and terror are others! As the allotted ninety minutes in the Bounce Room tick on, please watch your child's face for signs of alarm, either in the form of angst-ridden screaming or a less obvious twitching in the face or extremities! Should this happen, please find either Beth or myself and we will gladly direct you to a temperature-controlled room where you will be in the company of other distressed parents, some of whom have been there as long as a week! Cool wash cloths will be provided! Shots of tequila are also available, but will be provided at your own cost! Feel free to talk to other parents! Conversations on child rearing or the post-modern condition might ensue, but we ask that you keep any insightful conclusions you reach to yourselves! There is a video camera monitoring the room!

At the end of Bounce session, you will hear a friendly voice come over the loud speaker letting you know that it is time to commence the actual celebration of Joshua's birthday in the snack room with massive amounts of corn syrup and glucose! I'm sorry, I mean cake and juice!

At this time, in accordance with our family tradition, we will separate the children into two groups: "Candle Blowers,"(those that glow in the birthday limelight) and "Cake Stompers," (those that dive into the sullen swamp of moroseness when they become fully cognizant that this is Joshua's birthday, not their own)!  With your full understanding, we will seat  Joshua in front of the Candle Blowers, so that he will not be discouraged or made unhappy by the Cake Stompers! We ask that parents direct their full attention to the Cake Stompers so their feeble attempts to thwart Joshua's special day will be foiled!

We would like to thank you in advance for attending Joshua's birthday party! We are so happy that you could join us in the making of this special day in our tireless efforts to make sure that all  birthdays -- now, and in the future -- are equal in their planning and execution! We greatly look forward to celebrating with you, and of course, attending your child's own  birthday at a similar time and place!

All our best!

Beth and Hank
Jenny Hannah Moore lives and writes in San Antonio.