Friday 09 Dec 2016

Sweet Little 16
Matt Seinberg

One of the days that I always dreaded arrived this week. Michelle’s 16th birthday and her wanting the party that goes with it. She had been talking about it for months, and we finally got ourselves in gear and seriously started looking at places to have it.

That is to say, Marcy and I brainstormed places, and she went to see them. I just don’t have the time she does, and let’s face it, she has to see them all anyway, so there was no point in my seeing them. Mom always makes that final decision.

They had seen at least half a dozen places, with varying prices, room sizes, menus and options. All of them had good and bad points, and we couldn’t commit to anything because nothing was really standing out.

I’m at work the other day and a nice woman with two daughters is in the store, and we get to talking out Sweet 16 parties. Gina told me about a place, The Coral House, in Baldwin, where she had a party for one her daughters.

A light goes off in my head. I remembered we had gone to a wedding there many years ago. When I get home, I tell Marcy about this conversation. We look at the place on the computer. Marcy decides to call and talk to someone.

Barbara, at the Coral House, gives Marcy plenty of information; it’s sounding very good. Marcy isn’t off work, again, until next Sunday. She tells Barbara she’ll be in Sunday.

We then decide not to wait. Marcy calls Barbara back and says she will stop in the next day before she goes to work. Barbara says she won’t be there, but to ask for the banquet manager.

We then proceed to call my friend Dennis, who is not only a radio DJ, but a party DJ, too. I have known Dennis since we were baby DJs in college. I wanted him to do this party.

Of course, Marcy has to talk to him. They talk price, music and how he plans to host the party. We tell him we’ll call him back when we firm up the date.

Yipppee! Marcy calls me the next day, and says she likes the place, the room is nice and the price is right. We decide not to tell Michelle until the end of the week, when it’s actually her birthday. We’ll give her a card with a picture of the room inside with the date and time as well.

Michelle comes home from school that day, and asks me if we booked the party yet. Being the “evil” dad that I am, I said no, that mom said it was a dump and she was going to keep looking. I saw the disappointment on her face, and felt a little bad about the little white lie.

Friday comes along, and my in-laws come over for dinner. Since this is such a special birthday for Michelle, they got her a beautiful sterling silver bracelet from Tiffany & Company. She was so happy that she started crying!

When dinner was over, we gave her our card, and I waited for the reaction, and had my camera ready. Michelle did not disappoint me. The waterworks started, again, and she was thrilled to have her party booked, finally.

Now any father, in his right mind, always thinks ahead to what being sixteen means for his first-born female child. They want to learn to drive (no!), get a real boyfriend (no!), stay out late (no!) and talk on the phone all night (no!). It’s the boyfriend makes me crazy. No walking hormone is going to touch my little girl. I don’t care how old she is. Derek Jeter, my ball bat, will help me see to that.

I think Chuck Berry said it best in his song, “Sweet Little Sixteen”

Sweet Little Sixteen, she's got the grown up blues.
Tight dress and lipstick she's sportin' high heal shoes oh,
But tomorrow morning she'll have to change her trend and be sweet sixteen
And back in class again.

To me, she’ll always be six years old, sweet and cute and my little girl.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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