Monday, August 3, 2009

Better to GIVE...Than to RECEIVE...Not!

You are "The Cake Daddy"

I was always taught that it is better to give than to receive.

Well, not so much the case when PARTIES are concerned. I have decided that I would rather be on the receiving end in a party situation as opposed to the giving end.

When "giving" a party so much has to be taken into consideration. First of all there is a "theme". To celebrate Turner and Trevan's Summer Birthdays I thought that a
"Fun in the Sun" theme was sure to be a hit with the kids.

I forgot that if you actually want people to show up you have to let them know what they are GETTING in return! I did not hire a man with a pony, I did not rent a bounce house. I offered no real entertainment other than the swimming pool.

DUMB ME! Sorry boys, mom gets a BIG FAT "0" on the "Planning a Party in Orange County That Will Actually Guarantee Kids Will Show Up" Scale of 1 to 10.

Back in my day kids came to parties for the games, socialization and the cake...yummy cake. Not for the over the top entertainment that costs a fortune, elaborate games where you can win iPods, and cakes with chocolate waterfalls spilling into bowls where you can hand dip your own ice cream cone then leave with a gift bag chocked full of useless trinkets and candy.

Lucky for me, I have not taught my kids to expect much. When I made mention of having a community pool to ourselves for 3 hours complete with a park and BBQ area, THEY were excited.

Well not so thrilling for other kids I suppose. We do live in California where pools are everywhere. The majority of kids live in a home with a pool or have a community pool. One girl from Turner's class said "So all we are doing is going swimming? That is dumb. I have a pool in my backyard. I am not coming."
So - I guess I totally missed the mark on the theme here. My bad.

Then there is the RSVP.
R.S.V.P. stands for a French phrase, "répondez, s'il vous plaît," which means "please reply." The person sending the invitation would like you to tell him or her whether you accept or decline the invitation. That is, will you be coming to the event or not? It is rule of Etiquette followed in most Western cultures - EXCEPT in the far west state of CALIFORNIA.

Perhaps people are waiting for something better to come along and do not wish to COMMIT the pleasure of their company to YOU.
Perhaps people are just so busy that they FORGET to respond, which leave you wondering if you will have enough food and cake! So, you ask did the RSVP work out for me in the case of the
"Fun in the Sun" Party?

Not -so-much! We invited over 88 people that we know. I had 30+ people who said they were coming and RSVP'd. I had another 10 who did not RSVP online but verbally said they were coming. Over half invited did not RSVP. I had 48 people with NO REPLY. I thought we were going to have around 40 people including us. A nice number.

We planned and purchased lots of food and Uncle Tony made a large cake. We spent all afternoon running about in preparation. Hanging signs and affixing balloons here and there to direct our guests. Carefully planning our purchases at Costco; Grandma, Taylor and my nephew Blaine and I came up with a great menu of foods to eat poolside. Grandma paid for all the trimmings and we headed home. We then had Stace cutting watermelon, honeydew, strawberries and cantaloupe. We washed grapes, prepared salad and salsa, gathered serving bowls, charged camera batteries, remembered the candles, ran to the store to get items forgotten and went to set up.
The boys were excited and Turner especially watch the gate of the pool to see when his friends would arrive.

To make a long story short - no friends arrived. No kids came. Sadly as Taylor and Trenton kept asking me where all the guest were I did not have an answer for them. Stace made his way to the pool with the cake.

Turner and Trevan got very excited! Even with the balloons and signs, food and drinks it was not a party until they saw the cake. Uncle Tony made an awesome cake with sea creatures on it.

"Now...where are my firends!!?" Turner asked. "Yeah - where are the kids!??" chimed Trevan.

When none came Turner decided that because we moved none of his friends could find him. He needed to lay blame somewhere as in his little mind he could not imagine no one coming to his party. SO he blamed me. "WHY did you have to move us here mom?" he asked. "My friends are lost." As he floated in a huge pool alone with his brother in looked so sad.

It was a hard reality that as a mom, no matter how hard you try, no matter how carefully you plan, you can not protect your child's heart from the harsh realities of the world in which we live.

We had Grandma and Vicki there. They loves us. We had Chloe and Megan there, they have been a constant in the kids lives for the past several years. We had their cousin Blaine there who is down visiting. They had their 2 teenage brothers there. The White's came from Riverside. Casey played football with Trenton last year and the year before. We had grown close to their family. Funny thing is . . . THEY did not RSVP but actually came! They brought "Grandma" who was a fixture at all the football games and "The Baby" - Casey's nephew Juan. "The Baby's" mommy and sister Alysha. My friend Trudi and her adult girls came. SO we had an intimate gathering of adults and teens to help celebrate the boys turning 5 and 6. LOL!

I throw in the towel and will not try this again I promise! Next time we will celebrate with a select few doing something low key but special, after all it is about "making movies in your head" as Turner would say. A Celebration of another year. After Megan and Chloe went to Target and got bathing suits, they got in the pool. Then the teens followed.

The highlight was when Taylor jumped in with all his clothes on!

"That was so cool!" yelled Turner. "I never saw anyone do anything like that before!!" he exclaimed with a huge smile.

In the end that is all that mattered.

He and Trevan left with smiles. They did not need fancy entertainment. They did not care about elaborate games and gift bags. They were sad that they had no one their age to play with but...they ate great cake, and got to see their brother jump in the pool with all his clothes on. That is a memory. One that will stay with them for a long time to come.

Another lesson in expectation. Do not expect - then you can not be disappointed. We live in a world where we can no longer "expect" people to follow through, or keep their word. Sad. Harsh. True.

God teaches us through experiences like these who you matter to. In the end - you must always remember you matter most to God. He will come to your party. HE will meet you anywhere.