The Birthday Party

A Gods of P B & J Story

I stepped back and admired my handiwork, feeling very pleased with myself for my newly acquired domestic skills. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly Van Gogh worthy, but cake icing wasn’t a science. You could read “Happy Birthday Noah”. Sort of. If you squinted. And knew what you were looking for. Dammit, I knew I should have bought a cake at the store. This is exactly what happens when single mothers try to overcompensate for deadbeat dads who leave their families to chase their dreams to the other side of the country. Needless to say, my life was complicated.

To further complicate things, my BFF/single dad partner in crime/angel of mercy Adam had kissed me on our last kid/adult playtime outing and I had no idea how to process that. Neither of us had spoken about it. I almost thought I had imagined it. But no – I remembered the feeling of the rock-hard pecs under my fingertips, the soft, supple lips and the playful wink just before he trotted off to finish our game of hide-and-go-seek. Nope. Not a dream.

I had desperately wanted to talk to someone, ANYONE, about it. But any of my friends would only have wanted juicy details and turned it into some sordid little event when clearly it was something far more substantial. Right? Oh, I really needed the girls from Sex and the City for a little one-on-one sit down right now. Wait, they wouldn’t do. I needed the girls from . . . where were my representatives from the single moms of America? Why do all the television shows portray single life as a big party? How am I supposed to get advice?

On cue, Adam walked into the kitchen. “How’s the cake? The kids are having a great time but I think they need their sugar fix.” He chuckled as he got closer to the counter. I tried to hip check him but he was too fast. “Does that say “Happy Birthday Noon?” I scoffed at him, taking a knife to the icing. “Of course not. It says Noah. Clearly. Can’t you read?”

My friend Heather came to my rescue. “Adam, can you take these out to the kids?” It was a fresh tray of chips and dip. She could see the relief in my eyes although she didn’t know exactly why. As soon as he was out of the room she was by my side. “Okay, spill. What’s going on with you and Mr. Hottie?”

I looked at her and rolled my eyes, quickly averting them to play with the icing on the cake. “Seriously Heather, Mr. Hottie. You have a nickname?”

“Well, we used to call him Mr. X. But since you’ve become his best friend we decided to go easy on you.” She smiled as she exited the kitchen carrying a pitcher of Kool-Aid. Did they seriously have a nickname for Adam? And did they think he was a hottie? I mean, he was, but was I BFFs with Mr. Hottie? Oh, this was so out of my comfort range.

I went out to assess the kidling situation and saw chaos in my living room. It looked like a grammar school convention had erupted. Adam was in the middle, smiling and playing with all the kids like he was one of them and I couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of him. My ex would never act like this around the kids. I loved that Adam could relate to them on their level. Leaning against the door frame I watched him, and thought to myself, “Kim, you’re in serious trouble.” What have the gods of P B & J gotten me into now?