Life of the partyPosted by Lori Welbourne
My husband turned fifty years old last week and I threw him a party. I’m not particularly good at that kind of thing.
In fact, it had been so long since I planned a shindig for grownups that I forgot why I didn’t like it. To my surprise, I actually started getting excited about the event in the weeks leading up to it. I had fun ordering the cake, the giant card, the food, the DJ, the decorations, the customized bobblehead and picking up the most beautiful dining room table made out of 100-year-old barn wood that I’d commissioned for him months before.
What was less fun was that feeling of responsibility for everyone’s enjoyment the night of the celebration.
The sight of any lone person or couple not mingling caused me stress and I felt frustrated that I was unable to talk to everyone as much as I wanted to. I tried to shake off those feelings because I knew they didn’t make sense. When I go to a party I don’t expect the host to introduce me to everyone or hang out with me all night. I hardly expect to see much of them at all.
But, as it turns out, my anxieties didn’t stop there. I also managed to get a wicked cold that same day, developed a pounding headache as the night progressed, and became even more forgetful than usual.
Despite the fact that people seemed to be having a good time and the party didn’t end for some of them until 4:30 in the morning, I kept thinking about what I could have done better.
As I lay in bed trying desperately to fall asleep, I started mentally listing off the things I should have remembered or done differently.
“It was perfect exactly the way it was,” Paul said when he realized I was beating myself up. “No one’s ever thrown a party like that for me before. I had a blast!”
And, really, that’s what mattered most. Of course I wanted everyone to have fun and I wanted everything to go as planned, but if he hadn’t enjoyed the night, none of it would have been worth it.
He was an excellent guest of honour and much less neurotic than I was as host, or would have been if I’d been in his shoes. He tried to talk to everyone, but he didn’t stress that he missed a few. He also didn’t take on the responsibility of other people’s level of enjoyment. He simply relaxed and had a great time himself.
If only I could be more like him.
In our 19th year together, he’s still teaching me a thing or two about what’s truly important, and hosting the perfect party isn’t one of them.
What’s paramount for him are his beloved children, his wonderful family, his loyal friends and living the happiest, most fulfilling life he can. He’s not the type to get hung up on petty details. When he does something, he does his best, kicks back and lets it go.
“I want to be more like you when I grow up,” I’ll often tell him. Only four years his junior, I’d better hurry the heck up.
Lori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. She can be contacted at LoriWelbourne.com