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Social niceties could be a lost art

Submitted by on Tuesday, 3 February 2009 One Comment

A friend laughed last summer at my naive spasms of guilt at getting Big Guy’s birthday party invitations out only a week and a half before the date.

“Ten days?” he scoffed. “You’re way ahead of schedule. We get invitations the day before the party all the time.”

I’ve soared past that: Yesterday, we were invited to a party on nine hours’ notice, and that’s not even my worst example. In May, the guys got a “hey, why don’t you come over” call for a party that was starting in a half hour.

Now, I can understand a parent being busy. I wish busy parents would understand what I tried, sometimes in vain, to hammer into the head of many a deadline-blowing reporter over the years.

Your tardiness isn’t just your problem. It snowballs on down the line, rolling over editors and page designers who have to double-time it to make up lost time. It’s stress that wouldn’t have been necessary if you’d been a bit more organized from the start.

And it’s not just late invitations.

It’s people who don’t RSVP and show up anyway – Dad and I had 90 people at our engagement party when 60 had answered “yes,” sending the catering hall into a flurry of table rearranging to squeeze in everyone.

It’s people who do RSVP and don’t show – more than 150 people at our wedding, and at $15 a plate that still burns me.

It’s the general lack of courtesy and realization that your actions have an impact on others.

I lucked out a bit yesterday: I’d bought a present Sunday, because the birthday kid was someone we would have given a gift even without a party.

With Big Guy, though, you can’t just wrap a present and go. His egg allergy means he can’t eat standard birthday fare, and my freezer was bare of the cupcakes I usually stash in case a late-breaking birthday party erupts.

Plus I was dealing with a quasi-emergency Mommy-Do list from Dad, as well as the usual Monday madness of getting Big Guy settled back into homework.

The poor sweet child, seeing that I was stressing a bit, offered to forego the treats. “It’s OK, Mommy. I just want to go and have fun with other kids. I don’t care if I have cakes.” I awarded myself Bad Mommy Demerits for letting him see me sweat and set the oven to preheat anyway, because I knew that deep down he didn’t mean that.

It worked out OK in the end. The guys went, had fun with other kids and ate cakes. Three of them in Big Guy’s case, which made me really glad I hadn’t listened to him.

Half of the cupcakes, though, are in the freezer for the next time it happens.

And it will, because you never know what date those birthdays are going on to be from year to year.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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One Comment »

  • ParentingPink said:

    Oh, I am right there with ya Debra! I try to get my girls invitations out at least 2 weeks ahead of time. And it does irk me when “no shows” suddenly “show.” Ugh! Glad someone out there has experienced these things too!