I shamelessly stole her birthday party.

I wanted that hat.

It was my first birthday party - I was super excited, okay? So I'd like to preface this story with the statement that really, I'm a good person at heart. I really am! I'm a really good person - who just likes birthday parties. A lot.

As I said, it was the first birthday party that I had ever been invited to, and even back then, I recognized a good party when I saw it. The birthday girl's mom had clearly worked hard on this party - the decorations were stellar, the presents were beautifully wrapped, the cake looked delicious, and the mom had even gone so far as to make a special hat for the birthday girl.

I wanted that hat.

My love for hats has persisted on even through to adulthood, and in retrospect, this party may have been what sparked my love. The hat was fantastic - it was long and tall and had rainbow streamers coming from the tip. Clearly, it would look amazing on me.

So, naturally, I took it. Never mind that it wasn't MY birthday party. My embarrassed mother tried to reason with me, but I knew what the truth was. The truth was that it looked better on me, and I wanted it - therefore, I should have it. But my mom managed to wrestle the hat away from me and return it to the birthday girl. I responded promptly by bursting into tears and wailing. I was extremely talented at this and made such a hullabaloo that they gave the hat back to me. Score!

I wasn't done there, though. If you're going to steal a birthday party, steal the whole entire damn thing, I say. After my mom profusely apologized for my behavior (Harrumph, there was no need for apologies!), the birthday girl’s parents tried to keep the party going and to comfort their daughter. So, we moved on to the cake. If there's anything I love more than hats, it would be food. Especially deliciously sweet food like cake. Especially birthday cake.

The birthday girl leaned in to blow out the candles, and - there's photographic evidence - I came in, strategically put my arm out and managed to get in front of her. My lips pursed into an “O” and I was inhaling when my horrifically mortified mother along with other parents tried to grab my arms and pull me back. Nuh-uh, they couldn't keep me from blowing out the candles! It only took them a second to realize how completely futile an attempt to stop me would be. Self-satisfied, I blew out the candles with a great puff and then graciously allowed the birthday girl a turn.

Now, you can't have a birthday party without presents. So now that I had successfully celebrated myself with a hat and candles, all I had left to do was open presents. Those other insignificant people could take however long they wished eating their cake. I had a job to do.

So I went over to the pile of presents in the corner and plopped myself down on the ground. My displacement actually went unnoticed by the parents - they must have figured that there wasn't any more damage that I could do. Oh parents. You underestimated me so.

My chubby little fingers got to work on the ribbons of one of the presents. It was being difficult, but I'm a determined gal. It was going to be opened. I started clawing at the wrapping paper.

The parents finally took notice. At that point, the birthday girl didn't even have enough left to fight - she weakly looked over, gave a kind of hiccup-cry, and then went back to her cake. (At least, this is what I imagine, as my memory's a bit hazy, because I wasn't paying attention to her.) The parents had come to the realization that tearing me apart from those presents would be impossible. So, they ingeniously came up with the idea of hurrying the birthday girl through opening the other presents and then giving the presents to me after the birthday girl had opened them. That actually suited me just fine and I happily played with her presents, occasionally giving a sniffle to keep it fresh in the parents' minds that I could all too easily have a tantrum if they took the presents away.

I'm not sure, but I feel like my mom probably brought me home from that party as quickly as she could. I imagine we avoided that family for a while.

So, this is an apology:
Dear birthday girl,
I'm sincerely sorry that I was better at being a birthday girl than you. I'm sorry the hat looked better on me. I'm sorry I was better at blowing out the candles, and I'm sorry I was better at opening your presents.

Just kidding - I really AM sorry. I'm sincerely sorry I was such a selfish brat and upset you on your special day. I'm sorry I so shamelessly stole your birthday party.

...You gotta admit, though. The hat DID look better on me!


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