Monday, December 13, 2010


December 9 – Party

Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

(Author: Shauna Reid)

Hahaha, when I read this Reverb10 prompt, I had to laugh because I felt like it spoke to a demographic other than my own ... which made me wonder if I'm really the target audience for THIS party? And so began the ruminating, the self-doubting, the back-and-forth in my mind about where I fit in. Whether I fit in. Why it matters, if other people feel this way as often as I do, how this happened to me.

Let's start with the "party" thing. This year, I was invited to a few parties. I think some of this is because of Facebook, and since I am Facebook friends with a lot of my co-workers, when they post a party or gathering, I end up "invited" sort of, I suspect, by accident. I initially feel delighted and excited, because I actually really like most of the people I'm Facebook friends with from work ... then I start wondering whether they really want me there. Pathetic, I know. But, a few times this year, we (my husband and I) did go, and we brought our children, who love an excuse to eat junk food and run around and play in someone else's yard, or to watch a movie someone else brought for his or her kids. I'd have to say the experiences were pleasant, affirming (it didn't appear anyone was whispering behind my back that they hoped I'd leave soon or that they wished I hadn't shown up), but not exactly "knocking my socks off."

Then there's holidays. I desperately want to afford my children the rhythm of a "normal" year, even though our family life is anything but normal, what with Daddy playing trumpet gigs all weekend on Easter; both of us working on 4th of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day; the only time we're allowed to travel is in mid-July and at Christmastime, and we feel obligated to visit our parents, therefore can't really GO anywhere interesting or fun like other families do. We don't get most weekends off, either. It feels really disjointed and I'm frustrated by it. There are other families that have a similar situation to ours, families in our workplace, but until this year, we felt largely isolated by those other families. We've reached out, opened our home to them on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but we haven't settled into a "tradition" with anyone ... until this year. Lois, a longtime friend (she used to be in the band, but after birthing two, yes, two sets of twins, made the near-impossible but oh-so-lucid decision to leave her position, and her husband remains a member of the band -- smart smart smart!!!) saw my sad outcry that Thanksgiving doesn't feel good to us at all when we have no one to celebrate it with. She immediately (really, within minutes) invited my family to join hers in a Thanksgiving meal ... on Friday. Her daughters are teenagers now, and they spend Thanksgiving Day with their father upstate. Lois didn't feel like it was really Thanksgiving without her daughters, so decided to have Thanksgiving on Friday.

The whole thing was genius. Her husband's father and stepmom, both affable people, were there for the festivities, as were my three children and her two sets of twins. The children got along swimmingly, and we adults enjoyed the relaxed company of one another until way past the kids' bedtimes. Lois and her husband put out a plentiful appetizer spread, made two turkeys (one stuffed, one gluten-free), twice-baked potatoes, a rice dish we forgot to put out (isn't there always something you forget to put out on Thanksgiving?), salad, and more ... we brought several side dishes, all gluten-free (much to the delighted surprise of visiting dad and stepmom!), and Bryan made 3 amazing pies (the man can make a dessert, let me tell you).

My socks stayed on, but I felt welcome, warm, and part of something reciprocal and positive. And, for sure, I was incredibly thankful.

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