“Julie, wait. You need to adjust your pants. You’ve got to look natural or you’re so busted. Now strap this to your waist and pull the top down over it. There, how do you feel?” Mary asks.
“How do you think I feel?” I ask sarcastically. “I mean it! I’m not even kidding! I know I said I’d do this and I’ll do it, but I’m really not in the mood.”
Mary smiles faintly and is about to speak, but changes her mind.
“Yeah, yeah”, I continue complaining, “I see that smile; you’re so funny. I mean it; just give me the damn bag already.”
I step outside and my eyes squint as the bright noon sun pierces them. I feel every one of the day’s 87 degrees as the sweat trickles down my back and underneath my arms. This is my first time and I’m hot, and cranky, and unprepared.
I jog slowly down the sidewalk and around the corner.
“I just need to get there and get this over with.” I grumble.
Upon arrival, I walk to the back of the small house and open the chain link fence. My heart races as I sprint into the backyard, grinding my alto voice and roaring from deep within.
“MMM!” I bellow, “Me want cookies! Big Bird sent me! He says someone has birthday today! Me want cookies!”
Within seconds, four year old children swarm towards me like happy, squealing, little honey bees.
“Hey! It’s Cookie Monster! Cookie Monster’s here! Yay!”
Some wrap themselves around my legs while others hang off of my arms like big Christmas tree ornaments. Within minutes I’m flat on my back in the grass, laughing and flailing wildly.
I pass out coloring books from my white bag and the helium balloons that I’ve been holding in my oversized, furry, blue hands.
My sister, Chris, walks by and I grab her butt.
“MMM, Momma! Nice cookies!” I shout.
She yells and slaps at me, and parents screech with childish delight.
Soon the kids line up to say goodbye. My niece, the birthday girl, a petite, precious little thing, hugs me firmly and looks up into my big googly eyes.
“I have your picture on my wall” she says earnestly in her sweet, tiny voice, “I love you Cookie Monster!”
“MMM! Cookie Monster loves you too! Me thinks you yummy like little cookie! Yum! Yum! Yum!” I say and hug her back.
Then off I go, trotting down the sidewalk back towards Mary’s.
As I make my way, a passing car slows and a little girl hangs out of its window shouting, “Hi Cookie Monster!”
I wave my big blue hand, do a little dance, and continue on.
Moments later, a woman comes from her home with her son and a camera and asks if she can take a picture. I am happy to oblige.
I arrive at Mary’s and change back into my civilian clothes.
Now, I head back to the party . . . . once again.
“Aunt Julie! Aunt Julie!” My niece yells with excitement as I enter the backyard, “Cookie Monster was here!”
“Oh right; sure,” I say hoarsely and brush right past her, “like Cookie Monster would really come here; you’re so funny.”
“Really! Really!” She shouts.
I wipe the sweat from my face with the back of my hand, gently push past the children, and plop into a lawn chair. I am overheated and exhausted.
I glance over at my sister. She smiles.
I smile back.
It’s been a good day.