It was Luvbud’s 12th birthday and Luvbud’s Mom wanted to do something really special for her: a night at a hotel with four of her best friends.
So Luvbud Mom booked two rooms at the Brooklyn Marriott and told Luvbud to invite her BFFs.
But there was one problem: Luvbud’s Mom had to stay home to care for her mother, who isn’t well. She called Smartmom with the bad news.
“I can chaperone the girls,” Smartmom told her.
“Are you sure? ” she asked.
“No problem. I don’t mind spending a night in a hotel with five 12-year-old girls,” Smartmom said.
When the Oh So Feisty One got wind of the plan she was none too happy.
“Why can’t Luvbud’s mom do it. That would be SO much better,” OSFO told her.
“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” Smartmom said. “But it’s me or no party.”
On Saturday, Smartmom and the girls walked to the subway in the rain. Smartmom made sure to stay about a block ahead of the girls because she knew that OSFO wouldn’t want her hovering too close.
In fact, OSFO doesn’t like Smartmom hovering too close most of the time.
The allergy kicked in right around her 12th birthday last March and it hasn’t let up at all. Sometimes she actually looks ill when Smartmom enters her room.
Back to Saturday: Smartmom checked into the hotel as the girl swooned at the sight of the hotel’s pretty lobby Christmas tree.
“I’m two doors down from you girls,” Smartmom told OSFO and her friends.
“And the pool is open 24 hours,” she added.
“Yay. We can go swimming at midnight,” one of the girls said.
When the girls entered their room, they squealed with the delight and immediately started jumping on their beds. OSFO quickly ushered Smartmom out of the room and made it clear that Smartmom wasn’t welcome.
Smartmom did check in every half hour or so to see what they were up to. She told them they should go swimming, but they were too busy trying on each other’s clothes and putting on makeup in the bathroom.
Smartmom had lots to do in her private hotel room. She brought her laptop fully intending to write her column or read a book. Instead she found herself feeling very, very relaxed and sleepy on the ultra comfortable mattress with its soft, soft, cotton sheets.
Smartmom woke up to a hard knock on the door. It was OSFO and the girls dressed in their bikinis.
“The pool was closed,” OSFO told her, clearly annoyed. “It’s not open 24 hours like you said.”
“Really? That’s what the woman at the front desk told me — unless I misunderstood,” Smartmom said, sailing through a sea of unhappy faces. “My bad. But you can go swimming in the morning. The pool opens at 9 am,” she added, restoring the levity.
About an hour later, Smartmom knocked on their door to see if the girls were ready for dinner, but there was no answer. She banged some more. Still no answer. She did experience a moment of panic. Had they been asphyxiated by makeup or poisoned by nail polish remover?
She managed to stay calm and went downstairs to the Archives Restaurant to see if they were there.
Sure enough, the BFFs were eating dinner in the crowded restaurant. Looking like 12 going on 23, they were all beautifully dressed up in skirts or dresses and they were drinking …
“They’re virgin Strawberry Daiquiris,” one of the girls told Smartmom.
“We were having Shirley Temples, but then we ordered these,” another girl said.
Smartmom had to laugh. It occurred to her that this could be construed as pre-alcoholic behavior, but she flicked the thought out of her mind like an annoying mosquito. The girls were having fun.
As planned, Smartmom met Hepcat in the lobby for dinner. They sat and ate their dinner at the bar — far away from the girls. He had a Virgin Guinness while Smartmom had a Virgin Chardonnay. When the girls were finished with dinner, OSFO came over to Hepcat.
“Can I borrow your camera,” she asked, all sugar no spice.
“Ummm, it’s the new camera,” he said nervously. “Do you know how to use it?”
“Of course I do,” OSFO said, taking the camera.
After dinner, Smartmom and Hepcat watched “White Christmas” in the hotel room as he waited nervously for the return of his camera. Around midnight, Smartmom knocked on the door.
“Yes?” OSFO said through a small crack.
“Can I have the camera?” she said.
“One minute,” OSFO said, shutting the door.
OSFO returned a minute later with the camera. She handed it over.
“And don’t look at the pictures,” she said, shutting the door again.
“I think she should see the pictures,” Smartmom heard another friend say through the door.
“Omigod. They took 315 photographs,” Hepcat exclaimed checking his camera to make sure it was still in good working condition (which it was). “And they’re really good,” he added. “Did you know they ordered from room service?”
“They did?” Smartmom gasped.
Sure enough there was a photo of a waiter carrying a tray. There were three other trays visible in the picture. Luvbud’s Mom would not be happy.
“They sure made a mess of that room,” he said. “And they jumped on the bed.”
Indeed, the photographs were fantastic: a perfect lens into the crazy, fun, exuberant world of Luvbud’s 12th birthday party at the Marriott.
Smartmom may not have been a fly on the wall, but Hepcat’s camera was able to capture better than thousands of words what it was like on that magical night.
A birthday/slumber party at the Marriott: Expensive, trust me.
A night of fun with your BFFs (and OSFO’s mother, father and SLR camera): priceless.