... is not too dissimilar from our annual Halloween party. Except ours has great food and a ton of children.
A great time. It was muddy outside and my house is tracked up with dirt, but hey, that's what vacuum cleaners and steam machines are for.
Gotta write down my notes for next year, some specific, some more philosophical ... "Make twice as many falafel balls. Have more whipped cream for the lava cakes. Find a good way to make new people feel more comfortable."
I am feeling good. Anthropomorphizing our house, she seems like a lover after a long night ... a bit tired, sore, and with smudged makeup, but a satisfied look on her face.
Funny moments include the mother of one of the kids's classmates asking, "How do you know all these people?" "Oh, different places, but the majority are from our church." "Church! Oooh," she teased, wagging a finger at her margarita.
I smiled. "We're Unitarians. We're not that kind of a church."
Which is one of the understatements of the night.
Another funny moment, from another parent of a classmate: "We had such a blast! Y'all throw a great party! We thought this was just going to be a kids' party!"
Will muse on how to word the invitation that goes home with the kids' classmates so that somehow it comes across that this is a grownups' party that the kids get to come to, not the other way around.
A question expressed more than once was: "Why do you do this?"
I can understand the question. Unless you're in college, or can hire a staff, these kinds of parties seem to have gone out of vogue, at least for those who are now parents.
I popped off several shallow answers, because the long answer is, well, too long. And navel-gazing.
We do this party because it affirms and symbolizes what The Husband and I value.
We value the family we've made, both as individual members and as a group. We value our friends, who have taught us more about being a friend than we ever knew. We value FUN ... we consider it a priority not to be pushed aside for clean carpet, or budget tightening, or all the little chores that keep us all so busy.
For us, this party is a case of us making a dream come true. It's part of our family identity.
There was a little girl, who had lovely parents, but they had already raised one set of kids, so they were in different phase of their life than her friends' parents. It was quiet, just the three of them, and sometimes the girl felt a bit lonely. She went to college and met a wonderful boy and they decided that they wanted to grow up together, and make a family with a bunch of kids, where everyone felt they were part of a family team. They wanted to have an annual event that everyone would look forward to, and be surrounded by a big circle of friends. They wanted their kids to bring their friends, and the friends' parents, so that everyone could get to know each other. So they did all that, and along the way, the not-so-little-now girl realized that she really loved feeding people and the now-a-man boy learned that he could make delicious drinks and those two talents contributed nicely to the party and made people say "ooh" and "ahh." And they found musician friends who brought their talents, and photographer friends who brought their talents, and just-plain-friends friends, who brought themselves, and that was plenty good.
And each year, the party gets a little different, as the children get older, and their circle of friends changes and grows. But it makes them happy, and it makes other people happy, and so far, it makes their kids happy.
And that's why we do it.
Postscript: Little Warrior can be renamed Little Party Girl as she was one of the last to sack out. She went from one set of arms to another, happily. When the karaoke broke out, she began to dance and apparently already knows how to shake her diaper-clad booty.