So yesterday I was working, doing a little over-kill so that I could have 2 full WEEK-DAYS free to hang around with my grandsons and look at bugs and things. It's not everyday that I get important company.
Between patients I nervously took a peek at my new phone. I say nervously because it's a little intimidating having a phone that has a higher IQ than you. And the manual is 300 pages long and you have to read it on a file on your computer and who the h. . . has the time.
Yet we're up for the challenge, right? There was a phone number on caller ID (that I get) and it looked so familiar, but I couldn't place it. No voice mail.
I hit Call. A kid answered the phone, "K. residence."
Can you imagine? At my house they answer like this, "What? Huh?"
The clue, "K residence," helped the search function. At least I knew who it was who had called and I asked to speak my old friend N., a woman who did play group with me about 14. years ago (that's a long time). "She's not home. Would you like to speak to my father?"
M. got the phone and explained that he'd called but it wasn't an emergency. On my cell you get this horrible message:
If this is an emergency. . .call. . .or. . .Just please, please, please, don't kill yourself, not on my watch, OKAY?!?#@So M. felt funny leaving a message and it was all too complicated, anyway. He tells me that he's throwing his spouse, my old friend, a 50th b-day party and could we (me and FD) please come?
Wow. I'm flattered. I really would have liked to have made it, too, which is a little unusual. And I missed their son's wedding only a few weeks before (it was overseas, as in Australia overseas, and you just can't make all of the out of town weddings, you know?). But I had this IMPORTANT COMPANY and once again, couldn't make the party.
And it made me think of so many other parties that I've missed over the years for so many reasons, usually work related. I work on Sundays, and most wedding showers are on Sundays. I've also missed parties because I skip town to visit my kids whenever I can, whenever airfares aren't over the top.
FD is much more the party animal. But I've convinced him that the party is not about us, and that nobody really minds spending a hundred dollars less if we don't make it to their daughter-in-law's shower, kid's bar mitzvah or wedding.
And that's true to a degree, but there are a lot of people who really do want us there to dance with them, and we probably should do our best to trip over our toes to join friends in their happiness. Happiness isn't an every day thing, as you know, and it has nothing to do with knowing how to dance. We should grab the gusto. We really, really should.
Once my own kids planned a party for us, for me and FD, a surprise party. They had invited 20 plus couples before we found out and put the kabosh on the whole thing. We were going through something or another, some huge crisis, and both of us were on empty emotionally. We couldn't handle the mental work it would take to smile that whole evening. We made them cancel the party and they were devastated.
They argued, too. Probably our worst control issue with adult children, and of course, we won. (Structural family therapy axiom #1: Parents Rule). The party was canceled and #2 son (the second of the twins to be yanked out of this ol' bod') said to me, Never again. You don't get another. No more parties for you. He really was hurt, so much wanted to give us a party, and I'm sure it was full of wonderful thoughts, ideas.
So I regret life's emotionality, regret canceling that party. And kids, I apologize.
But sometimes you just can't make it to the party, even if it's your own. (It gives you something to talk about, right? The whole surprise idea. Is it like tickling? Some like it, some don't? Is there research on tickling?)
Anyway, dear friend who is going to be (finally) Over Fifty: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MANY MORE, and let's party together another time, for sure. It is an amazing thing, looking back and remembering, which is what you'll be doing, looking back and remembering, looking forward and wondering.
Wish we could be there. But you know how it goes. As it is I'll miss most of a Bar Mitzvah tomorrow.
What can you do?