The ex and I joined forces for our last primary school birthday soiree over the weekend, to celebrate the youngest turning 11.
She wanted on a “party boat” on Pittwater, come hell or high water (or torrential, incessant rain). We had to cancel the party the weekend prior because of the unsafe conditions and things weren’t looking much better last Friday, but Saturday dawned dry, still and almost sunny.
I can’t say the prep involved in a primary school birthday soiree is fun, but there’s a sense of satisfaction that comes from watching the birthday girl and her guests have a totally fabulous time.
As for the prep, it started a month in advance, with sourcing the party bag contents on eBay – fruit rock candy, dolphin bangles, rainbow sunnies, bouncy balls, whizz fizz cones – then continued with the shopping and cooking of the various party foods.
I took the cooking right down to the wire this year: I was due to start collecting kids at 9.45am on Saturday morning and things were starting to look a bit hairy at 8.45am when I hadn’t even started making the sausage rolls.
But somehow I made it out of the house – via the coffee shop for a strong flat white, go me – to collect the first guest on time for the hour-long journey to our destination.
Unfortunately it would (much) later become apparent that I’d left without a vital bag containing plates, cups, a knife, serviettes, tomato sauce and paper towel. But anyways …
We pootled blithely up to Palm Beach to collect our boat from the Home & Away boatshed.
As I unpacked the boot at the boatshed, DD appeared.
I wasn’t expecting DD, but he’d come along to make sure we got onto the boat OK. He hauled the eskies to the wharf for me, where my ex invited him along for the party.
DD politely declined, but said he’d hire a kayak and meet us at Resolute Beach for birthday cake.
We piled the kids onto the boat and were informed by the hire bloke that Resolute Beach was out of bounds.
By that stage, DD was a pinpoint in the distance, purposefully paddled across the water.
Hmmmm … how to let DD know that we wouldn’t be having cake with him at Resolute?
We puttered off in pursuit, until the safety conscious youngest deemed we were too close to verboten territory. But we were still too far away to let him know our plans had changed. So the youngest rallied her party guests and instructed them to yell “DD!!!!!” after she’d counted to three.
It did the trick and he paddled close enough to hear the update. We told him we were off to The Basin instead and he said he’d meet us there.
The Basin is a looooooooong way from the Home & Away boatshed and DD was backing up from a personal training session with The Warrior. I was sure he’d abort the mission around the halfway mark, but no, he eventually paddled to shore to meet us and eat my bacon and egg tarts while making small talk with my ex.
It wasn’t weird at all.
It was a bit weird.
Not just for me, but probably also (I’ve since realised) for the party guests wondering who the stalker bloke on the kayak was, since we didn’t explain.
After a piece of caramel slice and half my can of Diet Coke, DD headed back across Pittwater to complete his arduous 7km round trip.
It still makes me smile when I imagine him doggedly paddling into the head winds, thinking to himself: “What the FARK am I doing this for?”
Bless his sweet heart.
Anyways, back to the party … the kids had an awesome time splashing in the lagoon at The Basin and exploring the creek at Great Mackerel Beach and floating around on blow up rings and stuffing their faces with junk food.
My homemade sausage rolls and bacon and egg tarts were well received, and my ex created some pizzas that hit the spot too.
The four hours sped past way too fast. It was the most glorious time – so beautiful and relaxed and lovely.
As we readied ourselves to return to the boat shed, I got the youngest to cut her birthday cake with a spoon – as that was the only utensil available – then I scooped chunks of sticky cake straight into kids’ hands.
A final joyful moment came as a seaplane sped within metres of us on the water and took off, with the passengers waving to the party girls.
I will miss the primary school parties. They were a blast.
Here are some pics from the day: