I am a planner. It may be a personality trait, but my careers have cultivated that tendency to appreciate schedules and appointments. I have a lot to do; it's best to block off time if something is important, right?
Our family has a somewhat new tradition in which we celebrate Halloween as our family's big holiday. Yes, we observe all the other traditional American holidays, but we make a big deal out of Halloween, with an elaborate party of about 50 - 70 guests. One year, I put out a Save the Date notice in April.
Claus laughs at me all the time, but it was actually a guest who asked me to pick a date and let him know, so that he could request a day off. If one person thinks like that, maybe others would, so I sent out the e-mail invite six months early.
It's not unreasonably anal, but I cannot get away from the teasing. Until David.
My cousin Henrietta and her husband David have a decade old tradition of throwing a New Year's Eve party. After they bought a house on Oahu, they started opening it up to relatives and friends for the annual get together. It's a very elegant gala and we have always enjoyed going, though it's difficult to have a small child in tow. We are the only ones with a small kid.
This past year was full of distractions for David, who wasn't able to get the printed invitation out until December 23. I think we all assumed we'd be going to their house, but he still felt badly for the last minute nature of the official invite.
The very next day after the 2011 party, on January first, he e mailed everyone to thank us for our attendance and vowed he'd improve for 2012.
In his words: "I WILL do better next year. In fact, please mark 8 PM Dec 31, 2012 on your calendars right now! God willing, we will have a party again next year, same time, same place. I'll try to contact you all specifically long before December 23."
I laughed and read this to Claus. "You can stop teasing me now about being so OCD with my event planning," I requested. "David just bested me by six months."
Thank you, David.
Claus laughed and agreed. I then said, "I already know my RSVP. It's a no for me and Olivia."
I had a particularly difficult January first because we were all tired and cranky. Olivia wouldn't fall asleep in a strange environment at David and Henrie's house, so Claus or I couldn't enjoy dinner or conversation because one of us had to sit with her on several sofas while she tried, but failed, to sleep. By the time we got her home and in bed, it was three hours past her bedtime.
In the morning, we always volunteer at a local Shinto shrine for community service. We've been doing it long enough to be assigned a leadership role, so we feel obligated to show up early. In this case, we woke her up an hour earlier than her usual wake up time. She howled when woken up.
This poor kid was running a sleep deficit of four hours, and she was grumpier as the day drew on. I had less sleep than I'm used to as well, so my patience grew thinner than usual by later afternoon. The whole situation was not one I'd like to replicate.
Back to David's party. "Are you sure you don't want to wait and see how it feels in the fall? I'd like it if we can be together," Claus asked.
"Age four, age five - I'm sure she won't change that much in terms of sleep needs," I said. "I think it's the smart thing to stay home. You can go with my parents, though."
Now that I think about it, in the first year or two after her birth, those three went without me. It's totally fine. I enjoy going to sleep at my usual time.
Claus agreed it sounded reasonable, and I sent Olivia's and my regrets back to David that same day, which, as you recall, was January 1.
So while I no longer qualify for a teasing about being the most over-scheduled event planner, my husband is still giving me a hard time about actually responding to a party invitation a full 364 days ahead of time.
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