It's the week leading up to your 21st birthday. On one hand all of your closest friends are hyping it up and preparing to help you stake your claim on adulthood. Woo hoo! However... as you tell your parents about your plans for the big day, they start spewing warnings about drinking too much or complaining about your choice to take an Uber rather than a "real cab." Whether you are just going out to dinner or making your way to a casino mecca (Vegas or Atlantic City), here are some parental reactions to your birthday plans.
1. The silent shock
They don't want to say anything too quickly, so they try to regain control of the instinctive judgment radiating from their faces.
And once they regain composure...
2. The fake endorsement
Similar to when your parents lied about how great your crayon portrait on the kitchen wall was at the age of five, your parents want to support you. Their strained smiles try so hard to hide all of the potential scenarios negatively playing out in their heads.
3. The "If I say yes" debate
They know that if they agree to your plans, they are somehow responsible for making or breaking your milestone birthday. And you have made sure that they realize how great of a child you've been and how this is the last major birthday you'll ever have. They know you are lying and deep down they are trying to decide how many more times they will have to be this awesome.
4. The happy yet apprehensive "yes"
They said it! They said it! You have already formed a legally binding contract in your mind and then the full agenda comes flying out of your mouth. Not only do you want to take all of your friends out, but you want to go to the hottest bars and clubs in the area. You know what: Why not a whole weekend? What do ya say, Mom and Dad? I think it sounds great, I'll email you all the details! After a while, you see your parents lose focus as they mentally subtract the limo, the dinner, and the hotel room from their bank account.
5. The Defeat
After hours of brainstorming and bombarding them with ideas, you have left them no choice but to go "all in." Well, on the condition they get to spend a few hours with you and your "posse." They are your parents after all, and they aren't too proud to beg.
6. The Realization
A day or so later as you stand in Target starting to plan for your birthday, it hits them. You are all "grown up" even though you are pretty dependent on them for food, housing, and life in general. All of a sudden the party planing train gets derailed and finds itself derailed at nostalgia station. Your mom hugs you while holding your Flat Stanley project from second grade, and your dad takes you to brunch and tells you how proud he is of you. You all become emotional (internally or externally) and start sharing stories about how you used to wear kitchen pots as hats.
7. "Veiled" Threats
Once the tears have dried, they are back and ready to nag. They ask you over and over which friends are coming. Reminding you to let them know that if anything happens to you, they know where to look (while equating themselves to Liam Neeson).
8. Doubts and Fears
In addition to threatening your friends, they also insert "subtle" hints into ordinary conversation. "Are you going to Starbucks? Remember on Saturday not to drink and drive!" or say things like "if it looks unsafe, don't get out of the car... unless it's an Uber because they aren't "real cabs." You proceed to explain that you will be safe and that Ubers are legit but it becomes a lost cause.
9. The Boiling Point
Like the mature 21-year-old you are, you shirk a lot of your birthday responsibilities off on your parents. Since your family always does everything at the last minute, your parents are starting to get overwhelmed. At some point, you ask them for the 50th time if they got reservations and you realize you stepped on a hornets' nest. While stirring the pot full of hot food for dinner, your parents whip around and look like they may be able to transform a ladle into a weapon. You freeze and let your parents yell or glare until they turn away.
10. The Big Day
It's finally your birthday! Congratulations on being another step closer to actual adulthood. Legally, you are an adult at the age of 18, however, the success of your birthday fiesta is 100 percent because of your parents. Sitting around the table with your friends and the people who got you this far, you see a different kind of friendship emerging. You put your embarrassed looks aside and plop down next to your parents. You toast and thank them for making you and the great party happen.
11. The Final Dig
As you bid your parents goodnight and embark on your "wild" evening with your closest buds, your parents make it known that anything you do cannot beat what they have already done. They invoke the "when we were your age card" and you know for sure its time to part ways.
Even though you may not be in the same league as your parents, there's no harm in trying!