a Muncil family birthday party circa 1963



Jack and I went to a party the other evening in town. We hardly ever go to parties because 1. I go to bed really early and 2. I find parties “difficult”. I love the thought of parties: happy people eating great food, laughter, fun, warmth, connection….the reality of parties (at least for me) sometimes doesn’t quite match up.

I’m not at all interested in “discussing” politics, religion (this always surprises people) or the crises of the world. I love stories …personal stories of hope, love, even struggle if there is a desire for a solution and growth….I love it when someone says, “The most wonderful thing happened to me the other day…can I tell you about it?” Yes! Or “I am really struggling with something, do you have a minute?” Yes!

I want to go back to being 5 years old and getting dressed up, going to my friend’s house with polished shoes and clean socks with no anticipation of who will be there….no concern if I have put on weight over the winter and someone will notice, no thought of what we will discuss. I want to eat cake and ice cream without guilt and play with new toys and laugh and come home tired and happy and be put to bed and sleep like a log without thought of who I might have offended by saying something or accidentally ignoring them.

Maybe it is not parties that I dislike, but who I have become…more worried about what others are thinking, more critical and judgemental myself….now that is something I can do something about!…


11 thoughts on “parties”

  1. I know what you mean. I went to the movies one time instead of a family gathering, to avoid comments from my aunts about my weight or whatever. I should have been brave, look at the sharing I missed. I to am working on my attitude and have been attending children’s parties.(greatnieces and nephews)

    Thank you for the post.

  2. I have said for a long time that once a year, every adult should get to be pushed around in a stroller, allowed to eat all kid stuff without worrying about cholesterol, etc, and get tucked in at night with soothing music and love. We all need to be 5 again……

  3. As a five year old you did not know who you were. You went to parties with a blank slate, an open mind. Today you are a spiritual councilor. Your normal role in life has become a person that seeks out what others are thinking. To be critical and judge mental in order to find solutions to inspire growth. Pretty near impossible to leave that spiritual councilor at home when you go to parties. At times a personal eraser to wipe our own slate clean would be handy.
    If we are what we think. We should have the ability to wipe that slate clean. Temporarily. Start filling the chalkboard again the next day. Discuss politics, religion, and world crisis. It is OK if you are not going to solve them. Just as much chance of making someone mad that way as ignoring them.
    Me personally I love chocolate cake. Family knows me and my faults. So they seem to always have a piece of chocolate cake for me. If I am feeding my face I am not picking on them. Like Saturday we went to a nephews eighth birthday party. Someone brought me the first slice of chocolate cake saying”I knew you wanted this”. If I do not like the fact the party is at chuckie cheese instead of at home, That there will be too much going on to hardly get a glimpse of the nephew. I always have a smile as I finish my slice of cake. I will gladly lend you my eraser for a slice of cake and we can party till the sun comes up. Go home exhausted. Tomorrow I can work on that picking on folks thing. It will not take long to refill that chalkboard.
    Thanks for your ability to find topics that all can share in.

  4. Mary…I could have written most of this myself. with one exception…as I’ve gotten older (or perhaps more mature and accepting of myself)…I look forward to parties, well, mostly the ones I’m hosting ~ LOL!!! Now doesn’t that sound shallow!!! As I think about this more, I imagine it’s because I like those who I gather together and know we will all have a great time…no discussing politics or religion, no debates (oh how I run from these)…conversation and laughs over good food with a few intimate discussions with the girlfriends while the guys are somewhere else – I guess when I read your post I’m thinking more of the uncomfortable events I’ve attended where no one welcomes you into their circle and you drift from one room to another in search of a connection, a smile, something to let you know someone is happy you are there whether you already know them or not. A smile can go a long way to making someone feel at home. Remembering that you only have one chance to make a good first impression upon others would make a world of difference on the party scene.
    Have a wonderful day Mary…at my next gathering, I will be thinking of you and wishing you were there…xoxo

  5. I love the old family birthday party pix. And I can so relate to not doing parties well…all the projections before/expectations & social obligations during/ mental machinations afterwards. Especially if I am the hostess – which is why I almost never do parties. However, when I am going about my real life in the very talkative town of Cambridge, if I’m picking up prescriptions at O’Hearn’s, buying groceries at IGA, volunteering at the Food Co-op or Village Store – I love to get into spontaneous conversations and story telling.

  6. I love this! So true, ourselves to know. I loved the “winter weight,” exactly my response to going anywhere right now! I guess I have to start with “my story” and not hide behind something that happened in the world – or rack up a response to an event – just be me. Frighteningly easy! Ha!

  7. Pam, just wnted to add to what you said about hiding behind talk of politics and world events. I have a brother-in-law who does that. And jokes – always filing every social occasion with a Joke – doctor jokes, lawyer jokes etc. At a small social gathering at his house recently my sister-in-law and I started discussing
    “the leather jacket” – calls for a story page of its own – at any rate that one article of clothing and what to do with it – sparked a very real, raw, emotional, long overdue conversation…at the end of which my brother-in-law said, “I’ve known you for all these years, and I never knew that about you”. I said, ” Well, that is because you are always talking politics or telling jokes”. That night laid the foundation for different kinds of conversations, all because I asked about
    “The Leather Jacket” and my sister-in-law, a very spiritual person responded with her heart!

  8. It’s so good to know that someone else feels like I do about parties. When I get the invitation I’m excited about the thought of the party, but as the date approaches I begin to dread it. Then after the party I worry about the mistakes I made in what I said or didn’t say or what I should have said. Like you said, we have something we need to work on changing.

  9. Eww. Ouch. ZING! Your topic hit a raw nerve that I thought I had desensitized from years of work on forgiveness. As a child growing up with an alcoholic parent, parties and special occasions were always fraught with excitement and then concluded with a drama filled scene.
    Where do we sign up for Suzanne’s wonderful idea of being pushed in stroller…lovingly tucked in, etc. as a NEW memory? I so appreciate all those who visit this site. And, of course, you Mary for reminding me the work is ongoing in a positive way.

  10. Another great topic to drag out into the light of day!

    My bigger problem with the parties is not concern over what I said or didn’t say – the people who get the most offended generally love me the least anyhow. It’s the fact that I’m spending precious time with people who are interested in talking about themselves but not interested in listening back.

    Conversations that are truly give and take are wonderful – I have learned so much. But they are rare. People are most concerned about the superficial than who or what they or others are about.


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