8.21.2006

I can't believe we survived the weekend!

It's over. The party is over. The guests have all gone home. Our house is nearly clean. It's so wonderful. It was worth it, though. Julia had a GREAT time.

Pictures are up at The Speckled Frog if you want to see them.

You know, it's strange. A couple of years ago, throwing large parties didn't phase me. We threw as many as we could and I always had a great time. I was able to mingle easily, enjoy myself. But the last couple of years I have gotten increasingly unable to deal with large parties. I find myself getting more and more anxious as the party gets closer to starting, I usually have a great deal of anxiety all during the party, and that anxiety will inevitably peak into some sort of full-blown anxiety attack sometime during the event. Sometimes it will get so bad that I'll have to go to one of the non-public rooms and sit in the dark until I can get calm enough to join the party. This party proved to be no exception -- except I wasn't able to go anywhere to calm down.

I know what part of the problem is -- I'll see people and I'll start worrying that they're not having a good time, that they want to leave but think it would be rude, that I'm not paying enough attention to them to make them feel welcome and appreciated. Ridiculous, I know. But still. At Julia's party there was a great deal of that going on, but also just sheer overwhelm at all the presents she received. We had told people that their presence was enough of a gift, but gifts they brought all the same. Many people brought more than one gift, too. The pile was HUGE! And everyone wanted to see their gift being opened, so I got started opening presents.

It was during the gift opening that I had my full blown anxiety attack. Heart pounding, hands shaking, wanting to cry. Our friend Amanda picked up a bag and started helping me keep the mess clean as I was going, whispering encouraging words the whole time. I kept smiling. I felt so greedy. Like we'd invited so many people just so we could get a haul of presents. It felt like such conspicuous consumption. I know all these people LOVE Julia, and they all wanted to get her things. I think my biggest problem is that I felt like I couldn't thank the people sincerely enough for their gifts. I mean, Julia wasn't even paying attention to most of them (of course she wasn't, she's only one and a lot of the presents were clothes) and I felt like I needed to keep opening presents so that people could leave if they wanted. I guess I just wish that I could have taken each family or guest aside and opened their present with them right there so that I could thank them in a more intimate setting, and we could talk about the gift... Oh well. About half way through the present opening my attack started feeling debilitating and I just looked helplessly over at N and Amanda and whispered to them that I couldn't do it anymore, and they just whispered back that it was ok, no one thought we were ungrateful, and that I was doing fine. That's when I asked Kristin to stop taking pictures and come over and help me. I don't know how many of our guests could tell how much distress I was in -- a lot of people were carrying on conversations while this was going on. I plan on calling them all to say thank you again and I might mention it to some of them...

Everytime I think I'm getting my anxiety under control I slip up again.

Posted by Trista @ 9:37 AM

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Hey the party was great! We had a lot of fun, as did Cam. I could tell you weren't comfortable opening the presents. There were a ton! It is hard when there are so many people just talking, and yet you feel like they are all looking at you. I don't like opening my own presents in front of people, but I am okay to open Cam's, because it is not about me. I know what you mean about all the anxiety. I am just glad that I am not the only one. Next year will be better because Julia should be able to open her own. I hate being the center of attention, but when you are hosting a party, you are. Don't worry, you did a good job, and Julia scored!

Posted by Blogger Merr @ 12:52 PM #
 

You know what? One of my favourite things in the whole world is buying presents for those people that I adore. I prefer buying gifts for the people I love to buying something for myself even! I have often laughed that if I won the lottery a fair amount of it would go on gifts for everyone else, because I love it so much. Not neccesarily expensive stuff either, but I love finding something that I think is perfect for that person that they would really get emjoyment from - even stupid socks or something. And the people I most like to buy gifts for are the people who don't expect or demand them. There's nothing worst than those horrid register things in my opinion - they make me feel resentful and I never buy anything off them because I would rather choose something that I find meaningful for the exchange. I can understand that you feel uncomfortable about receiving things, but I think it's a bit like when someone gives you a compliment - they really want to give it to you and it will take away for their enjoyment if you don't let them! Maybe if next time you keep thinking that, that you are letting people feel the enjoyment of giving, then it will make you feel more comfortable instead of running an internal dialogue about consumption etc and making yourself feel awful.

Posted by Blogger mermaidgrrrl @ 5:23 PM #
 

Oh, I'm so sorry that you felt so much anxiety! It's hard to be center of attention, to know that people are watching for your reaction. But I agree with Mermaidgrrrl here, too -- all those people love Julia and love your family and were really happy to be there and offer presents. And it looks like everyone (else) had a really good time -- especially Julia. The pics are adorable. It's easy to see why so many people love her -- her lovely personality just comes through so well in pictures! I wish we could have been there.

Posted by Blogger Lauri @ 9:14 PM #
 

Narda gets the SAME way - I'm the BIG party girl, Narda would rather have 3 or 4 friends over.

I'm so sorry for the anxiety. I get it.

I'm glad that the party was a success, however.

Posted by Blogger Shelli @ 9:46 AM #
 

The party was great. It was nice to feel comfortable letting others hold my baby, so I could eat a sandwich and cake in peace. I meet the most interesting and wonderful people at your parties, and I loved seeing all their children. I really enjoyed meeting the family with the baby that weighed less than Sydney did when she was born, and getting to see how great she is doing now, 7 years later.

I could tell you were uncomfortable with the presents, but it was not too obvious. If Vince had been there, he would have missed it. I want to second that I love to give gifts to people I love and care about. I spend time trying to figure out what they might want, and what I think they need. To me, that is part of the gift. I just hope that I am right, and that what I select will bring them some fun or something good. If my life had not been so chaotic lately, I maybe would have made something useful, but had to resort to buying stuff.

Anyway, thanks for the wonderful time. I really had fun.

My Word verification yqiksFQ. Never got an FQ before.

Posted by Blogger WendyLou @ 5:27 PM #
 
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