Thursday, January 10, 2008

It's Not Just a Party

I used to think that preparing for a party was easy. You grab a few extra snacks at the grocery store, put away the laundry, and remember to vacuum. It was just a matter of adding some simple ornamentation, like wearing a green shirt to the office on St. Patrick’s Day.

Not so for my wife. Picking up food and cleaning up the house are just preparing the stage for the set designer. Then the real work begins.

The wrong chairs go out, and the right chairs come in (this is what husbands are for). The thoughtfully chosen food is carefully prepared, beautifully displayed, and even timed according to the arrival of the guests. The CD player is filled up in just the right order and turned on at just the right volume. The three bouquets of flowers are trimmed, arranged and placed strategically in every room. Curtains, lamps and ceiling lights are adjusted, to create the perfect ambiance. Last of all, scented candles fill the air with a barely perceptible floral aroma. By the time it’s all finished, I wonder if I’ll have any energy left for the party.

Photo from French Country Living

But then the guests arrive, and the magic comes to life. Fatigue is quickly wiped away like the last bit of pepper from the counter tops. There are hugs and smiles for us, and wide eyes and effusive words for the d├ęcor. At that moment, it’s all worthwhile.

Of course, at some point it finally must end, and we two are left with only the twinkling candles and a collection of fond memories. My wife collapses in my arms, but I ask, “When can we have another party?” Of course, what I really mean is, “Thank you so much for all that you gave us tonight. It was glorious.”

I’ve come to understand that for a creative spirit, a party is not just an event, it’s an experience, an opportunity not just to express herself to special people, but to give herself to them. And the only way to do that is to give everything.

Photo courtesy of my wife


  1. I can totally see that Nancy is my kindred spirit. I love perfect parties, ones so well planned that I actually enjoy them, too!

    Do you also do all the dishes, as my darling one does, after the guests leave?:)
    xo Lidy


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