My Niece’s Not So Sweet 16

I’m writing from my bright and sunny backyard. I’m sitting by the pool, all by myself soaking up this gorgeous day.

Okay, maybe it isn’t as gorgeous as it was when I first came outside. The clouds just rolled in and the wind has picked up. But still, I’m wearing capri’s and a pink and purple shirt that my 4-year-old niece Victoria helped me pick out this morning. Tori also decided that I needed to wear “ponies” in my hair just like her. As my hair is shorter, I decided to just pull it up into some sort of 40’s twist at the sides. It works and that’s all that matters.

Had the pleasure of going to the surprise party for my niece this afternoon. Sweet 16 isn’t all it cracked up to be. She got very angry that we had a party for her, but was more mortified that only about 8 of her friends showed up. What she doesn’t know is that her parents asked for her friends to come later so that she could have the dorky family time first. To be honest, I can sympathize with her.

Imagine – you are 16, you want to look cool. You think this birthday is going to be the best because your parents have finally agreed to let you get your belly button pierced. Friends were planning on coming over, and you were going to meet up with more later in the day. Only issue is, your friends go with you to get your belly button done, but instead of heading home, you get taken to this small little hall and find that your parents have thrown you a pop and chip party in the middle of the day complete with streamers and balloons. Total buzz kill.

Of course, birthday parties are what you make of them – I know – as I’ve had many birthdays where people have forgotten or made other plans. Generally, what I’ve come to know is that the only people that really will remember your birthday is your family. Lucky for her – she has a big family and they all love her. If they didn’t, they would’ve walked out immediately on her when they saw the sour puss on her face.

She didn’t say a word to anyone in the family other than to complain until I finally had a talk with her and told her that I think it would be really nice if she went and said thank you to everyone. All us old fogies and little kiddies were all leaving and her and her friends were getting the run of the hall. It’s amazing, but I must’ve had the magic touch because she went out, gave hugs to everyone and I finally saw her smile.

It’s hard in this age of shows like Sweet 16 where kids are given everything they ever want – with parties costing more than my wedding, and cars worth more than I make in five years. But even if you watch those shows, the kids generally still throw a temper tantrum because you got a four door model of car when you wanted two door, or the car was the wrong colour or even worse, your so-called friend booked the same band that was slated to play at your party only theirs was two weeks before.

No matter what you think you want for your birthday, especially your 16th birthday, you are most likely not going to get it. I’ve learned over the years that rather than dwell on who’s not there or what you are not doing, that you need to have fun with those that did come, and are willing to do something with you – even if it means wearing crazy hats, eating pink cake and listening to country music because your dad’s best friend really likes country and he’s the dj.

Maybe it’s my old-age wisdom, being that I’m turning 30 this year and all, but I know that I want to have the best time this year. I am NOT going to let anyone stop me.

I just wish I could get inside my nieces head and shake some sense into her!

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