There comes a time in every great 18th birthday party where you, the host, thinks it might be time to call in the cavalry.
Not that you meant to go lean on security.
Nor that you, the wife and mother-in-law couldn’t handle it.
It was just that Charlie was inside the perimeter, stuff was getting real and this was no longer a drill.
All the hard work had come to this.
The extensive pressure cleaning of the house in preparation for the invasion of 70 teenagers.
The industrial cook-a-thon that comes with feeding a throng of carnivores, vegos and food sensitivities.
The exquisite timing required to get pin wheels, chicken wings, dips, chips and burritos out in play at just the right moment so you’re not left with 15kg of said over-catering to consume in the week that followed.
So much to remember, so little to forget.
Like getting a bigger, burlier bloke than myself on standby to assist with the silken skills of crowd control … just in case.
One had been lined up but had pulled the pin late due to circumstances unforeseen.
A little like how this party was beginning to feel.
Another had been put on standby but we were reluctant to call him in at short notice, because nothing except good vibes was going to hit the fan, right? That was the question.
Familiar famous last words.
It has to be said this mob was conducting themselves with grace, propriety and just a few slight wobbles. Mainly queuing for the toilet. Note to self: Next time build an outside loo.
An hour and a half into the action came the unmistakable sound of breaking glass.
Or was it our nerve?
It accompanied a distinct increase in what you might call “the hum”.
Everyone had turned up, the music was crankin’, the fire was visible from the international space station, and an eclectic assortment of beverages were being consumed, mainly on the ping pong table.
The party was going off, just as planned.
(Really, we planned this?)
Things were starting to heave. Hopefully guests didn’t follow suit.
Two things to avoid at this point were a meltdown in the kitchen, that no one’s eating the chicken wings.
And Dr Vom Vom.
Always in the back of your mind at events like this. Remember your own 18th?
That’s why you try and feed them so much (chicken wings anyone?) – to cushion what’s going down, so it doesn’t come up.
It was decided at that moment to phone in the friend for security, just in case things got a little stressy and/or messy.
Indeed I drove round and picked him up, with just a hint of nervous desperation.
But things never got out of hand because this crew managed themselves impeccably.
The friend proved a good circuit breaker in the kitchen, though, as debate turned to when might be a good time to throw 10 tonnes of chocolate cake into the mix.
The answer to that is, as always, ‘before they go home’.
And before you knew it, following some speeches and robust toasts, they were heading home. Without incident.
We’d dared to dream, and now we could dare to drive the mate back home and start cleaning up.
They came, they partied and we hosed out the house after they left – and it was all good.