Not every life event deserves a party


“It’s a man.”

It is a story my mom loved to tell. She already had two boys, and I was going to be her last, and she was hoping for a girl. So she jokingly told the doctor not to tell her it was a boy.

And he didn’t.

I, of course, loved to strut around when she told this story, acting like a man and not the boy I was. And to be honest, it is still a story I tell, 15 years after my mom died.

That is how it was back then. You found out the sex of your child when he or she made their first appearance. It was a surprise.

We knew what we were having when my ex-wife and I had children. We were curious so we were open when the doctor said he could tell us.

What we did with that knowledge might seem pretty antiquated these days: we told people. Individually. By phone, or letter.

We did not have a gender reveal party. We had never heard of a gender reveal party. I don’t think they even existed.

Gender reveal parties are an event where parents do something big to reveal the gender of their coming child. It can be anything from blue or pink balloons released from a hidden spot to a pink or blue water fountain to an explosion with pink or blue smoke.

Seems excessive, doesn’t it? It also seems very 2020. We have to make everything grand, for some reason.

Well, a gender reveal party in California recently started a huge fire that burned thousands of acres and forced the evacuation of thousands of people. All of this so people could reveal the sex of their baby.

An Iowa woman was killed in an explosion at a gender reveal party last year. They basically made a pipe bomb to spray colored powder, and the woman was standing 45 feet away when she was hit by shrapnel.

Tragic? Yes. Stupid? Certainly.

Why do we feel the need to have these kinds of fairly useless celebrations? This is not for the coming child; it is for the parents and the grandparents. It is also completely unnecessary.

But in the age of graduation parties for kids finishing day care, it doesn’t seem weird at all. These days we celebrate everything. And I am not talking about accomplishments. I’m sorry, but your kid finishing kindergarten is not cause for a family party.

When I think back to the Middle Ages, when I was a kid, I can remember some small birthday parties, sure. I can also vaguely remember my going away party when I joined the Air Force after I graduated from high school.

I think that one was for my parents. Those were tears of joy that I was actually moving out. They even let me drink a few beers!

The parties and celebrations have gotten out of hand. Gender reveal parties? Let’s just stop that, OK? Let’s save the celebrations for real accomplishments. Your kid graduates from college? That is party worthy. Your kid earns early release from jail? That is not party worthy. You earn that promotion you have been working years to achieve? Party worthy. Your kid learns to ride a bike? Not party worthy.

When you find out the sex of your child and want people to know, just send a group text. It is easier and safer.