My advice for today is to have a party. Sounds simple enough right? But people make things socomplicated these days and then we just end up with no parties at all.  Or no fun parties. Or not enough parties.   This people, is not the way to live.

Last year I sent the following email to six of my girlfriends. We all have kids at the same school.  I said, ‘Come to my house after school on Friday and drink beer.’

The body of my email included a couple of other instructions like:

  • let me know if you can make it
  • bring the kids (duh)
  • don’t need to bring anything, I’ll have snacks for the kids, etc.
  • and, (quite importantly at a small school), ‘please take note of who is invited to this get-together and let’s not talk about it at school so as not to offend anyone else.’

I know, I know. You think I just jumped the tracks to micro-managing town but it seems to be a trend these days to invite everybody to everything. As if a grownup – or for that matter a child – can’t bear the thought of not being included. These parties for kids where the entire class in invited. The weddings where everyone the bride and groom every met is in attendance.  Because people are afraid of offending someone? How about being afraid of not making your friends feel special and cared for?  I can explain to my seven-year-old why everyone can’t be invited to everything, can you?

Anyway, I digress. The party was great. Some of us had a beer and some of us drank seltzer and tea and the kids got a bowl of chips and lemonade and direct orders not to re-enter the house under any circumstances that were not bathroom related. They played in the yard and ran like a pack of wolves in the park next door but you know, even if it had rained, there are worse things that having 12 children playing in the house for a few hours. The party was a success because everyone had some precious time to hang out and enjoy each others company. There was no schedule or pressure, just sitting around and talking and connecting. Some of us don’t work. Some of us do and cut out early that day.  I didn’t force my friends to sign up for what to bring. Yes, it was a mish-mash of wine, chips, brownies, cinnamon bread, Greek cookies, chocolate covered pretzels and hummus and veggies but who cares? And the Mom that came right from work who brought nothing?  She took one look at that crazy smorgasbord and knew that when I protested that ‘seriously, she didn’t need to bring anything’ I wasn’t lying.

We were together and we didn’t have to think about it too much to get us there. And my friends felt special because I made time for them – just them. They weren’t mixed in with a bunch of other people who I felt compelled to invite. We weren’t catching a quick moment to catch up at a school-wide event. We could talk – really talk – about our lives. That one afternoon deepened our relationships which is so important. We all have enough pals at the baseball games or people we say ‘hi’ to at church. What we all need more of is important, thoughtful relationships with people we can trust and rely on.

Much like in The Grinch where Christmas came to Whoville, ‘…without ribbons and without tags.  It came without packages, boxes and bags!‘, we had a party without the normal bells and whistles. No invites or long guest lists or evites or menus or gift bags for the kids or planned activities or cake.   But the party came anyway.

So I had another party last Friday afternoon. Same model. Same Moms (plus one) and it was every bit as fun as the first. All the Moms were so appreciative of course but, just in case you think it only made the Moms happy, the last thing my daughter said to me before she crashed (and hard) that night was, ‘Mommy, that was so fun.  When can we have another party?’