Dan and I had our first party in our new house on Saturday night. It was the first time 99.9% of the people we know had the chance to see it, so we worked hard to get all the boxes unpacked, get everything into its new home, and have the place look great.
When we first set the date for the party, which was thrown only because our dear friends Shane and Mikka were going to be in town, we had some serious goals in mind.
1. Get all the boxes unpacked.
2. Go through all the stuff we moved from one house to another and decide what to keep, what to sell, what to give away and what to toss out.
3. Have a garage sale and sell all the old stuff we didn't want, and the stuff that was too big for the new space.
We accomplished #2, and most of #3 with the help of Craigslist. I guess I could give myself a little credit here and say that we've even accomplished most of #1, with the exception of three boxes of my stuff that is now homeless since I lost my loft space (and my desk). Things were moving right along inside the house, and then bam! Dan went out of town.
Normally I like it when Dan travels the week before a party. I get to take my time, do lots of cleaning and prep work, arrange and re-arrange furniture and dishes. Then when he comes home on Friday night, I have a to-do list of things I couldn't do, and/or that I needed his help to accomplish.
However, this party is the first REAL party we've had since having children. Yeah, we've had friends over to hang out for the night, and even shipped the kids off to the grandparent's house so they could sleep in peace and we could tend to our friends. But this event was the first party we've had in over 17 months.
On Monday I found myself with a big to-do list. Grocery shopping for food to make. A trip to Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy new drapes and other house accessories. Carpets to vacuum. The last few boxes to unpack. Laundry. Floors to mop. Furniture to dust. And that's just part of the list of things to do on the inside of the house. So that first day of Dan's business trip, I started working on my list. Tuesday, I worked even harder to check things off. By Wednesday, even though so much was done, my attempts seemed futile.
It was Wednesday afternoon that I said to myself, "Screw it. These friends who are coming over to our house on Saturday have known me for 15 years. They know what my house can look like at its best, and they all seen it at its worst. Who am I trying to impress?" I decided that while my friends were important, and I did want them to have clean surfaces to sit, eat and walk on, my children were the MOST important. I'd been letting them fend for themselves a lot early last week. They play together well most of the time, but that wasn't the point.
In that moment, I got up and walked away from the vacuum cleaner and the boxes, and I played with my boys. We went on walks, and we played on patio. We stacked blocks, and read toys. We had a great time, just the three of us. Now, don't let yourself think that I didn't go back to the vacuum, the dust cloth, and the boxes while they slept, because I did. I just took some time to enjoy my kids.
Thanks to my dad, who came over and took care of all of the outside chores, Dan was able to get home Friday afternoon and give me a hand with the finishing touches on the inside. And because in the end we were able to accomplish so much together Friday and Saturday morning, we managed to sneak away as a family and go to a birthday party. And then Dan was able to attend a surprise party for a new friend at church. And when 6pm rolled around and there were still a few things that needed to be put away, we opened the door to the laundry room and used that to hide the last of the stuff.
Back to the beginning for a second. Remember that I said this was the first visit for 99.9% of the people coming to the party? Yes, the majority of those people wanted the Grand Tour of our home. As I walked our friends around our new home, pointing out the improvements we made (we being Dan, my mom and my dad), I even showed our friends the laundry room. The room that had three boxes still needing to be unpacked, baby gates with no home, and a couple of empty boxes that we hadn't broken down and thrown away. It was with great pride that I showed off this room. I had learned two lessons that week leading up to the party...
1. My children are my priority, not what my house looks like, or what people think about me.
2. My friends who have known me for 15 years, love me for who I am, and not what my house looks like on the night of a party.
Technically, I learned one more lesson...
3. I have amazing parents. I already knew that, of course, but it has started to sink in a little more. They pitched in around our house last week, even though they were both sick with colds their grandchildren had given them the week before. They babysat on Saturday night for our party, even though the boys had very little nap and had the potential to be quite cranky. They made sure our needs were met, just so we could have a good time with an old group of friends. Thanks, Mom & Pop.