Last weekend we went to a retirement party for Mike's stepmom. We were invited via text by his dad, who relayed the message from his stepmom's son. Mike's dad remarried only a few years ago, so we have only met her (adult) children once - at the wedding. But they were getting everyone together to celebrate her retirement, and we were happy to participate.
We showed up at the (casual) restaurant, walked into the room where our large party was seated, and realized we were the only ones who brought our children.
I was instantly mortified. Not just oopsies! that's embarrassing. Mortified.
We are not the couple who assumes that our kids are invited everywhere, but it never crossed our minds that maybe this was adults only. Mike's stepmom is Super Grandma, she lives for her grandchildren, and she has talked forever about getting all the kids and grandkids together. I guess subconsciously we assumed Super Grandma's party would involve children.
So dumb. I still feel so dumb.
I spent the entire dinner talking to Mike behind a menu, trying to figure out how to get the hell out of there without drawing more attention to ourselves. I was so uncomfortable that I just wanted to escape. Now it should be said that everyone was overwhelming nice about it. Nobody even blinked an eye, and instead actually swooned over our adorable children. They weren't even overly nice to the point of overcompensating. It was mostly a non-issue to them. But I wanted to shrivel up and die.
Mo and Drum were angelic. Drum sat quietly the whole time, let others hold him, and played in his car seat while we ate. Mo colored, charmed everyone, and ate a mountain of rice. I took her for a walk around the restaurant, and I took Drum to a quiet corner when he needed to eat. We had to shush Mo a thousand times because she has one volume - bullhorn - but they were the epitome of well-behaved children.
So why was I so mortified to have them there? Why did I bolt the first second I possibly could? Why did I lay in bed that night wishing I could go back in time and ASK if kids were welcome?
I think it's two things. First: I hate screwing up. I'm by no means perfect - I'm completely OK with my daughter eating food off the floor that may have been there since last week, and I have no shame that my kids only get bathed once a week (if that). I know enough to let a lot of things go and to not sweat the small stuff. But I don't like making huge, public, social faux pas. I mean, who does? But a lot of people can shrug it off. Some people do it so often it's like a lifestyle. But I don't. My family loves to tell and retell embarrassing stories about themselves. Everyone goes around the room, tells their stories, and we laugh our heads off. Then it comes to me and we laugh at the fact that I have no embarrassing stories. And I don't. I go to great lengths to not embarrass myself. I hate that I do it, that I care, but it's how I'm wired.
Second: It hit me while laying in bed that night that part of the reason I was so upset is that I was ashamed of my kids. Not exactly of them, but of the fact that they were there. These innocent, beautiful, carefree angels whom we dragged to a party for their grandma, whom were on their very best behavior, whom had no idea they were not invited. I wanted to hide them away, I wanted to get them (and me) out of there. And I was ashamed at feeling that way, and angry at any situation that would make me feel that way about my babies. That night I got out of bed and went to each of their rooms to stare at their sleeping cherubic faces, tousle their hair, stroke their cheeks, kiss their heads. I hope I never feel that way again.
Has anyone else committed the faux pas of bringing your kids to a non-kid-friendly event? Were you as mortified as me?