Friday, December 02, 2005

Pre-Party Stress

I debated on whether or not to post tonight, since I know the 6th Annual Holiday Party will go swimmingly and if I don't tell you what I'm thinking right now, then you will think I've been cool as a cucumber the whole time. However, a blog is all about honesty, so I will be honest about the pre-party stress. But I do understand, deep down, that it will all be fine. You believe me, right?

Seven years ago, before I met my husband, my friend Cathy and I used to have dinner parties all the time. We always got nervous that something would go wrong, but nothing every really did. I learned that I really enjoyed entertaining (and eating Cathy's cooking), but when I moved to Raleigh, my circle of friends diminished, and soon, I found that my six parties a year had dwindled to two, and then to one.

Now, the holiday party is really the only true party I have each year. Sure, folks come to dinner from time to time, and perhaps there will be a casual get-together for this or that, but this party has become the true focus of my efforts. And since it the only one, and my circle of friends is growing again, there are often a LOT of people there. This year, we are expecting about 55 people. And this year, 14 of those are children age 8 and under. Just shoot me.

The party normally involves preparing 15 or more munchie-type things, plus an "evil Santa" gift exchange. In years past, I begin planning in October and would cook every night for the week before the party. I did it all myself. Chris would help clean the house a little, but really, it was all me.

Two years ago, I agreed to let Sophie help me in the kitchen. Before that, I insisted that no one could help... partially because I wanted everyone at the party to ENJOY the party, and partially (and this is way more honest than I like to be in a public forum) because I missed Cathy and felt kind of like I'd be replacing her. Took me three years to get past that, and still I hope that one year she will actually make the drive down to make the dastardly duo whole again, if only for the one night (although she has to make room for Sophie now.)

And Cathy, that is not a gratuitous plea to make you feel guilty. Although if it worked... so be it. :-)

This year, since both Sophie and I are expecting babies in the early Spring, we sensibly decided that we would let folks bring appetizers this year. It goes against my credo of "don't do anything... just come enjoy the party" but I also know that my pregnant lard-butt cannot possibly stay upright all day and hope to be able to move at all by 7pm when the first guests arrive.

Tomorrow will be a day of cleaning, cooking, trying to find a baby gate for the top of our stairs, and wrapping gifts. Then the guests arrive, and we should be able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labors. The children are going to have party space upstairs, and the big people will be downstairs with wine, beer, and whatever yummy goodness Sophie and I manage to make, plus what people bring.

So here I sit, stressing about how much I have to do, and yet I'm doing none of it. And I am oddly at peace. After six years, I've learned that the party will just work itself out... we'll get it all done, and we'll have a rocking good time. Stress? What stress?

As soon as I recover, I will post pics and hopefully news of what a smashing success it was.


Sophie said...

Have no fear! As of 6.44am, half of the party prep crew is awake, showered, dressed and packed!

Chris said...

I'm glad I'm so helpful...

eaf said...

Hmmmm... in my excitement of writing so much last night, I neglected to mention that since the first party, Chris has become the main party-prep person for everything but the food, along with Sophie's husband Brian. Shame on me for not giving credit where credit is due. Sorry, hon!

Cathy said...

I miss our parties too. At least you have one! We don't entertain at all any more. (for various, depressing reasons that I won't go into here.) I'm sure your party was a smash and I promise that sooner or later, we WILL come down.