Sunday, November 24, 2013

Party Hardly

I’ve come to realize that I’m generally a great party GOER, a terrible party THROWER.  Sure, I’ve had many a casual dinner gathering here at the house, hosted a few Valentines parties, New Years get-togethers and the like, but no one will ever put them down in the pantheon of “great parties.” If they do, it won’t be because of the amazing sides, killer atmosphere or flashy decor, but for the people and the conversation and the BYOB wine they drank. (And maybe the raucous piano and guitar sing-alongs)

November and December are festive-season central.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and most intimidatingly, my daughter’s birthday.  While Hadley is filled with joy and anticipation, I’m stewing over details like...what to do, who to invite, what to serve, when to gather.  My aversion to party-hosting is particularly acute for my kids because I love them so dearly I don’t want their birthday to suck.  Plus, I’m rather obsessed with things “working out” and making sure people have a good time, and aren’t disappointed, or overburdened.  I want them to think I’m creative and funny and with it and not completely lame because I buy a tray of nuggets and Publix cake for kid parties, or don’t have an awesome theme. 

I think I might have problems.  And I probably need to just be okay with my penchant for hosting “low-key” events.  

The thing is, I love a good party.  I will BRING the party, and maybe even food or wine, or an at-the-ready playlist of good tunes. Just don’t make me plan or host.  I’ve served as casual DJ at parties, been asked get the dancing going when everyone else is wall-flowering.  I’ll talk to strangers and enjoy connecting with people over small and big details (for a while, then that exhausts me).  I’ll bring the crazy white-elephant gift and whoop whoop when someone trades for the tacky boxers or the leg lamp. I’ll after-party with the bachelorette at a seedy dive-bar.  I may be exhausted afterward, but I'll enjoy it.  I think I might be an extrovert.

My friend Kristin is an AMAZING party host.  Her kid birthday parties are color-coordinated, fun, engaging, the food is adorable and kid-friendly and tasty.  There are marked glasses for adults, things on sticks in faux grass, seasonally appropriate decorations. There are games and beautifully packaged party favor bags for the kids.  I love that Kristin is just delights in that stuff. Its a beautiful thing. While I’m sure its a tiny bit stressful in the lead-up, she really loves to do it for her kids, and her friends, and we delight in it.   

The thought of getting together half the awesome stuff she does is purely exhausting to me, and doesn't seem enjoyable. 

So as my daughter’s birthday looms and the details remain unfinalized and I keep telling myself she’s just 4 and won’t care.  I just hope my friends and family know and love me enough to grant me grace about the poor party throwing thing.     

My babygirl is worth celebrating. Low-key throw-together or birthday-bash style, we’ll have lots of love.

And babyJesus is worth celebrating (which is why I’m really looking forward to GOING to a friend's Christmas party.) 

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