This has been a very frustrating couple of weeks, and now that I'm past it I need to reflect.
A quick summary: Sweet Caelyn's birthday was on May 15. She was turning 5 and really wanted a party. I planned on May 13, but her friend Casey had already planned her party for the same day. So we switched to May 20, but her friend Olivia had already planned her's for that morning. So, we settled on the afternoon of May 20. Not the best timing, since this was going to be an outdoor party and it would likely be 90+ degrees, but Caelyn's other friends had trumped our plans.
I handed out the invitations, and didn't hear from most people. Two people called to say they were coming (thanks, Mrs. James and Mrs. Mayo). Some gave me a verbal thumbs-up. Most just didn't respond. It's very difficult to plan party activities and favors if you don't know who's coming.
The day before the party, we heard from two people who now couldn't come even though they previously said they could. We heard from one person who said they'd be arriving late. On the day of the party, one person called to back out.
I tried not to be upset, but I was really frustrated with the whole situation. Individually, most of these people had valid excuses for not being able to come after all. Cumulatively, though, it felt like Caelyn was getting shafted. Only 5 of her friends came, four of which she'll never see again because they were pre-school friends and they'll all be at different schools next year. Only one of her church friends came.
So, here's what I've learned.
1. Always call to RSVP to a party. If you can make it, say so. If you can't, call early enough so the hostess can actually make plans.
2. If you say you're going to be there, don't back out at the last minute unless it's a true emergency. (I'm not speaking to you, Amy. And I appreciate your phone call.)
3. Caelyn has the ability to have a great time no matter what the circumstances. She missed her friends who couldn't come, but she was a great little hostess to her friends who did.
Maybe this was payback for me being a poor RSVPer in the past. In college I was invited to leadership dinner at the Vice President for Student Affair's house. I never got around to RSVPing, and at the last minute my friends convinced me that I should go and it would be OK for me just to show up. I did, and Dr. Grissom made a public joke about me being a party crasher since I hadn't RSVPed. I was wholly embarrassed, but I learned my lesson.