August 29, 2013
Burrito and Tamale’s 4th (!!) birthday is coming up. We’d planned a party with their two closest friends at one of their favorite places, where we go all the time but neither of these kids has ever been. Eve from the previous post, and a little boy, let’s call him Adam. Both of those kids have been in school with B&T since they were barely 2. We have gone on multiple outings with each of them and their parents. Burrito can get overwhelmed when there are too many people, or when there are people he doesn’t know well, so two kids (with a total of 6 guests counting their parents) seemed very reasonable.
Except that Burrito keeps inviting other kids from school. Every day, I’m greeted with a new request, or, worse, notification that he has extended an invitation. “I want to invite Cain to my party.” “Abel has never been there before!” “Seth is excited to have a cupcake at my party.”
I know exactly where he gets it — definitely not from me. His father’s birthday is coming up too, and I can’t even fathom the guest list. He has plans with some buddies for the night before, and the #1 buddy asked him who else he should invite. DH answered, “I dunno, go ahead and invite everybody.” Everybody. There might very well be 20, 30, 40 people, and he’s perfectly happy with that. Conversely, I have not wanted more than 3 people for my birthday since I was in high school.
It’s not just an introvert-extravert thing, though that’s part of it. This “the more the merrier” philosophy seems to go beyond mere extraversion. We have been to the weddings of many extraverts, but there was only one where the groom kept adding people on at the last minute. Three different people were suddenly coming to town — none of them close friends of the happy couple (a friend’s brother, a high school classmate, and a sorta-friend who went to a rival high school), and the groom invited each of them to not only drop by but to attend the entire wedding. Seating charts and head counts be damned, he’d make room for them.
Ironically, that groom was an add-on to my own wedding guest list. One of DH’s friends (previously mentioned on the blog as That Guy) didn’t want to make the 10-hour drive to our wedding alone, so he asked if we could invite this future inclusive groom — who had gone to elementary and high school with DH and they had many close mutual friends, but they hadn’t been close friends since 5th grade. We’re not talking hundreds of people like the inclusive groom’s wedding; this addition raised our head count from 45 to 46. Then, the driving plans changed and the additional guy was going to drive with a different guest. That Guy was once again driving alone. So, he asked us to invite three, yes three, more people: a guy we’d never met who happened to have a car, and two girls with whom they hoped to hook up, who would provide sufficient motivation for the car guy to make a weekend trip to the wedding of people he’d never met. DH and I put our collective foot down. I told him that it was a wedding, not a BBQ. (Note: The previous year, we’d had a BBQ, and That Guy had brought along 5 people we didn’t know, bringing the total head count to 12.) I told him that he was trying to add 4 extra people, the same number of family members I had coming to my wedding. I told him that I was not going to hand-calligraph placecards for people whose names I didn’t know.
Which brings us back to the 4th birthday party. I originally set the guest list at two because it seemed like the best thing for Burrito’s enjoyment (Tamale would be happy with 2 or 20). But, I am resisting expanding beyond two despite Burrito’s repeated requests for selfish reasons: instead of dollar store crap, the party favors I’ve chosen have to be custom ordered weeks in advance (trains where each car is a letter of the kid’s name). I can’t keep adding to the order every day, and I don’t want to switch to different party favors. If Burrito keeps taking after his father, though, in future years I may have to forgo the elegant hand-crafted party favors and settle for the bulk bin. And I might even have to spend the party talking to parents that I don’t already know well and, who knows, make a new friend or two. Who I might then have to invite to my own birthday party.
How inclusive are you when constructing a guest list?
August 8, 2013
Welcome to the July/August Intelligentsia.
I don’t pry into people’s business, almost to a fault. Perhaps because my mother was so bothered by answering even simple questions about herself, even when asked by her daughter, I don’t tend to ask people about themselves. Unfortunately, it makes many conversations rather one-sided. At the end of meeting a new person, they probably know all about me — because they’ve asked — but I know almost nothing about them — because I haven’t asked. My non-nosiness doesn’t usually do me any favors socially, as most people actually like to talk about themselves.
And so of course I never ask other people about their family building paths, even when I can speculate that their road hasn’t been easy. Tamale’s best pal is a girl named Eve. They’ve been classmates for a year and a half, so almost half their lives (and the only half that they remember). Eve has two mommies, and so it’s reasonable to assume that at least some level of special effort went into bringing her into the world. But, I’ve never asked. We’ve spent a lot of time together at playdates and school functions and school pickup/dropoff, but we’ve never gone there.
Then one day a couple of weeks ago while I was dropping Burrito and Tamale off at school, out of nowhere Eve said to me, “My mommy is trying to give me a baby.” Hmm.
And so, I went out on a limb. I was emailing her moms about something else, and knowing that they have no relatives in the city who could babysit Eve at the last minute, I added an offer. I told them what Eve had said, and just in case giving her a baby involved an RE, they’d be free to call me and drop Eve off if they ever had a last-minute appointment. That I’d spent many years “trying to give myself a baby” and that I knew how the process can involve unpredictability.
The next morning at school I saw one of the moms, the one who had given birth to Eve. She thanked me for my offer and then, on the sidewalk, we got into a long talk about IVF and inconvenient scheduling and working really hard to have a baby.
I haven’t seen them since then, and I don’t know if they’ll ever call, but I still feel good about having made the offer, about having put myself out on a limb. Infertility treatments are such a lonely process; I hope that I made them feel a little less alone.
When was the last time you put yourself out on a limb?