My son Sage’s sixth birthday has come and gone, and lo, my husband hath wrought a miracle in its passage. OK, it may not be a Jesus-level loaves and fishes miracle, but it was still pretty darn clever. Here’s what happened:
Sage’s birthday party took place at the local bowling alley, and we had all the supplies—or so we thought. Cake—check. Plates—check. Napkins—check. Et cetera, et cetera. All was good.
The kids had finished their pizza, had run around the alley to expend their excess energy, and were about ready to be sugared up. I unboxed the cake, proudly brandished the metal serving spatula that (unlike at the pool party last year) I’d remembered to bring, and ensured an adequate plate supply. Everything looked good to go.
“Paul,” I quavered, trying to keep the Queen of the Harpies shrillness out of my voice, “Where are the birthday candles you just bought?”
“Yes, the candles that I’m assuming you bought when you purchased three boxes of Sundae Cones on the way to the bowling alley. The candles were the whole reason for our stopping at the grocery store.”
The only candles we had were two strays that I’d dug out of the junk drawer in anticipation of just such a gaffe. (Experience had taught me that some kind of small but vital omission was inevitable.)
“Never mind,” I said, still fighting to suppress the Harpy Voice. “We’ll just teach the kids to use their imaginations and multiply by three.”
But Paul’s manly pride was at stake here. In the glow of cleverly buying Sundae Cones to circumvent my objections to ice cream, with its potential for gloppy messes, he’d failed to fulfill his primary shopping mission. HE WOULD BE REDEEMED.
“Give me the spatula,” he ordered in his most Manly Man Totally In Control Of Things voice.
Wordlessly, I did as he commanded. He used the spatula to cut each candle in three, lit the stubs to reveal enough wick for burning, and installed them on the cake.
And so the miracle was wrought: From two birthday candles had come six that, however stubby, were adequate to their cake-illuminating task.
Sage blew out the candles, the children devoured the cake (and possibly one or two of the candle stubs), and lo, the party was saved.
And, more importantly, so was Paul’s Manly Pride.