Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Actual Party

Now onto the actual event...

Needless to say I got no sleep the night before the party. Probably for two reasons: I was so excited that Zoe was here for my party and I had a double chocolate chip frappuccino while at Starbucks.

When Wally and I got up I was exhausted. However the show went on. I got ready and went on my way to pick up Pumpkin (who had kindly agreed to do creative things with the fruits, veggies and made incredible cookies!!) to get groceries for the party. We went and were very successful in picking up what we needed at not horrific prices.

I dropped everything off (including Pumpkin - my sister in law) at the hall and I went to get my hair and make up done. After a quiet time at the hair dressers I got transformed into a movie star (well a slightly chubby movie star). Then I went to my parents to grab food and wait. It was weird to just wait but I did until I couldn't wait any longer and off I went back to the neighbouring town the party was in and picked up a necklace (cheap) to wear and got a boutonniere for Wally (because he was too cheap to get a new shirt). I got the key from Pumpkin and arrived at the hall to try and do something.

At that point all the little oldies were leaving from their card match and I started bout five different jobs without completing any of them. Wally and a friend of his in tow soon arrived.

In no time my miracle friend and Zoe came and did their magic along with my amazing decorator friend a whirl wind of creativity happened. Within 2 hours our hall was transformed into the perfect party setting, details and all. I was in awe. Complete awe.

We all got dressed (you know, cause we were nude) and waited for our guests to arrive. Not long before 7pm they started coming through the doors. I think after the first few came in the rest was a blur. An hour into it there were more people than I could possibly keep up with. In total we had over 112 people there.

As they took seats there was a buzz in the air. Conversations happening, people reconnecting, flashes of pictures being taken. I tried my best to connect with each person there but it was merely impossible. I'd have people come up to me and begin conversations only to be interrupted by another person who'd walked in the door. I found that some people would start into every day conversations with me about a broken down car, or some other event, or so and so in the hospital. Not exactly what I was expecting.

I'm not sure what I was expecting. Perhaps meaningful conversation right off the hop like 'I love you so much.' 'You mean something to me too.' 'Life really is a gift'. I don't know, something touching I guess. Don't get me wrong I did have a few say thank you for having the party (but let's be honest, they're getting a free buffet and night out, why wouldn't they say that). This just goes to show you how self centred we are (ok maybe just I am) when giving to others sometimes. I guess I just wanted affirmation on things, maybe even confirmation.

Anyhoo. A little after 8pm I made the big announcement everyone was waiting impatiently for. (Can I just say I've never been asked so many times if I was pregnant before in one stretch of time). I said my speech. The speech. I finally told everyone why they were here. Why we were all here. I expressed our gratitude for the people that were sitting in front of us. How much we loved them and how deeply they had changed our lives even if they were present for a short season in our lives. I almost cracked and broke down but I held it together and got through. I don't remember all I said just that Wally approved and sincerely felt I did well and covered all the bases (that's a huge compliment as he is the hardest on me and my speaking skills).

So after the seriousness we had a few fun games (including the newlywed game with our parents - it was pretty fun!) then we left people to mingle, eat and enjoy some dancin'.

I got out there and gave my legs a good workout during the dance. Was thankful for Wally's younger cousin who came (I'd guess she's maybe 12) who knew all the words to every song with accompanying moves. The music wasn't all that great but we coped. I enjoyed dancin' with my family, friends and especially my home church people that I haven't seen for a while.

I continued to see new faces that I'd forgotten would be there, get pictures taken and give a hug or two. But I have to be completely honest. Overall my party was one of the loneliest experiences I've had. There were so many people and only one me. I couldn't really connect with anyone the way I love connecting.

Now, just because I am saying that I was or felt lonely doesn't mean I didn't have a good time. I did. It also doesn't mean I regret having the party, I don't for a second. I guess I just learned how much I really get out of just simple connections.

My biggest hope out of all this I think will be realized more as time goes on. Memories do seem to get better with time - they already have in this case. I received a beautiful e-mail from my uncle's wife (he was married to my aunt that passed) and she said everything that I really wanted to hear. She seemed to 'get it'. That is what I wanted out of all of this. Someone to 'get' that life is short. to get that life is special. To understand how important it is to share your love for those around you while you have them.

That sort of brings me back to how I started my last post. I was talking with Smoky Mama on the phone earlier and she mentioned that Pumpkin couldn't figure out why I hadn't invited someone whom held a very influential role in my life early on. She apparently was a bit ticked off about it (as this person did definitely play a significant role at one point).

After thinking about it and being irritated that someone could possibly feel as if they could judge me on who I feel I wanted to be a part of my 'Celebrate Life' Party. I pondered. Was I a bitter human being? (More in regards to this person) No, not really. We parted, it was awkward. We did our best to make it the best parting it could be and considering the circumstances I think we both did as well as we could. Was I trying to hurt this person? No, I never see them really, it honestly never occurred to me that they would know anything about it (although that seems naive since we all come from Smallville).

Honestly I didn't feel it necessary to invite someone who doesn't celebrate me now. Though Wally and I aren't close to every person that was at our party they were connected to us and in a way we still feel connected to them, whether we drifted apart or life just took over. My significant former friend (whom I honestly wish well) and I did not drift at all we severed our friendship, with good intentions I think. Knowing that it was better for all involved (or at least Wally and I knew this) that we not pursue a close friendship any longer.

We wanted our party to be a celebration - period. Not obligatory invites and awkward moments. That's what our wedding was for.

So as I re-ponder who we included and who we didn't I feel no regret over those offered to come. We had the perfect people in attendance. People that love and accept us and were there for us when others turned their backs and didn't understand. Not every significant person in your life does that. Some unexpected seemingly insignificant people do.

When I think about it I guess that's what we really wanted to do ... throw a party for no significant reason at all, yet for every significant reason there could possibly be.

Well intended or not we did it. We're glad and we are truly grateful for all sorts of people who have come and gone through our lives whether they were at our celebration or not.

Do me favour: next time you see a party balloon, celebrate someone you know you deserves to be celebrated. You are the only one that can.


The Pre - Party...

The party. The party. The party.

Where do I even start?

Well I could start with the conversation I just had with my mother in law about someone's opinion on who I did not invite to the party.


Or I could skip that garbage and just tell you what I'm feeling. I'll do that.

I sit in my living room now surrounded by remnants of a party bomb that went off upon our arrival home Sunday afternoon. My sparkly perfect party shoes are sitting on the coffee table - not sure why. Along with an opened bag of rice cakes, a dirty dish and my cell phone. Close by on the floor lies two check books, my contacts, contact juice, deodorant and scissors. An even larger heap of stray items lies a few feet away. A bag of apples, my party dress, necklace from that night, a serving platter, gym pants, dirty clothes and groceries I was too lazy to put away yesterday (more rice cakes, raw veggies and protein powder).

Essentially I am amidst a mess of my life which is what I feel like I have to work through before getting my thoughts out - however I will do my best.

The party...

The weeks leading up to it were chaotic and busy. Every spare minute filled with details, details, details. Phone calls, e-mails, confirmations and lots of bank transactions.

About two weeks before I had a serious melt down wondering if I was doing the right thing, wondering if my excitement for life had gotten completely out of control and insane. Well to be honest, it probably had but luckily I was surrounded by great friends who banded together to help me get everything done. One friend in particular made the difference.

I received an e-mail form someone I actually met on this blog. She sent the perfect e-mail offering all of her help, it didn't take me long to take her up on it. She was amazing and did more than I could have even imagined. She made all of the little details (like putting special quotes up on the walls, doing scrapbook pages and mounting photos on the wall) happen. I was astounded. She was making my dream party come true. Thank you to her (you know who you are!!!)

The cool part was she wasn't my closest friend, not someone that was there from the beginning of the planning, she was someone who was just really watching. Through our evenings together prepping I really found a true friend and that's been one of the best gifts I've been given during this event. I know she has no idea how much this had meant to me.

So ... anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that one of my closest friends was not able to make it due to a prior engagement that was very important as well. I blogged about my feelings and definitely was in a placement of understanding (though to be honest was disappointed a bit in the circumstances).

Early last week Wally asked me not to plan anything for the Friday evening before the party. At first I told him there would be stuff to do then as my miracle friend came along I no longer had to worry about it. I came home from work Friday and fell asleep on the couch waiting for him to come home. Once he was there he was very vague about what was going on. I asked him about food and what to do and he wouldn't give me a definite answer. I was hungry too (it was after 6pm). I asked him if I'd need to change and he said no (would never believe that next time). He told me I had time to have a nap. I told him I did not have time for a nap as I was hungry. He insisted and I laid down (for a second) then told him I was going to change).

Anyways after about an hour there was a phone call and Wally left and said he had to get something in the lobby. I asked no questions and secretly wondered if I was getting a surprise birthday party (30 is a respectable number!). I decided to begin ironing my pants. You know, cause that's what you do when you have time to kill.

The next thing I know I here the apartment door open and quiet footsteps. I look at the bedroom door behind me and see my close far away friend standing in the doorway. At this point I was standing with a hot iron in my hand screaming. I was in complete shock.

I immediately thought of my friend's prior commitment and left bad that she gave it up for me. I honestly did not feel deserving of such a sacrifice. I stood speechless in shock for a few minutes and still didn't really understand what was happening. Wally and Zoe stood together with smiles as I wanted to cry. They informed me that Zoe and I were going out - just the two of us!!! I didn't get it. You see Zoe and I have been friends since high school. She was the Maid of Honour in my wedding, I played for hers but we had never gone out on a girls night before as adults. She got married and moved far away and had babies making outings impossible. I spend a morning with her when I visited once (just the two of us) for brunch and parasialing but that was it. To be honest I had know idea if we'd have fun just the two of us (ok I knew we would but we'd never done it).

The rest of the night was pretty much a blur, I was in shock the entire time. Zoe was chatting and carrying on with conversations we'd had on the phone filling me in on her life, I in on mine but the whole time I was almost out of my body. We had a yummy dinner out (with girly drinks) and then starbucks drinks (I'm sure I drank a days' worth of calories just in that evening!). We talked and talked until we knew she had to go (as she had her 1 yr old daughter with her being looking after by her brother and sister in law).

You may be thinking 'Oh yeah, what's the big deal? She ditched her event for yours. Friends do that sometimes.' But for me it was so much more. You see Wally always gets after me about putting more into relationships than I get out. He will say 'You care too much for that person. They don't care about you the same way.' I often get disappointed when people don't respond or make me a priority (wow do I ever sound narcissistic?). This friend was someone Wally asked me to let go of in a sense. Not get rid of but to not rely on to have a close, relationship with expectations in the air. Do you know what I mean?

It wasn't that he didn't like her at all. It was that I was overly attached and disappointed when I wasn't being overly attached to. I did some soul searching and realized I had unhealthy and unrealistic expectations with Zoe. It was easy for me to visit since I had no kids, a flexible job and no other commitments. She has 2 small children, a husband who is a doctor, and many people who count on her. Still all I ever wanted was to be important enough to her to make the trip just for me. What an incredibly selfish thing. As I posted before in my head I completely understood. Completely. In heart a different story played on.

I am still processing the fact that one of my dearest friends made some serious sacrifices for me. She reciprocated her love for me. She loves me. This concept couldn't be any more huge for me to comprehend. I am so humbled. So incredibly humbled.

The best part is she had a great time. She said it was the best weekend she's ever had (even though she was only here for 46 hours!!!). I can't say the same about it being the best weekend of my life. But I can say her coming to see me is probably one of the best gifts I've ever been given and I even still as I write have not comprehended fully what she has done for me. I needed to know that right now. And to be honest I can't imagine not having her there now when I look back. You'll understand why in my next post.

To Zoe and my miracle friend - thank you for everything. But most of all for making me feel and know that I'm loved.

No greater gift than that.