The Big Party

On Saturday, July 11th my parents are throwing a huge party to celebrate their 25th anniversary (July 14th) and my mom’s 50th birthday (July 8th). They’ve invited everyone they know from all over the country. My mom wouldn’t give me an exact number, but we have 12 people staying at our house for about 5 days (only 5 actually in the house, the rest in trailers) and they invited everyone from two churches here, my mom’s work, and pretty much everyone one else they know from other places we’ve lived. Of course, the people form further away aren’t all coming. It’s an open house, so it will just be a mess of people coming and going all day.

My parents went to a place to make their own wine, and on Saturday I went with them to bottle it. It was actually kind of fun. It was a little assembly line. First, my mom sprayed some cleaner stuff in the bottle, rinsed them out and stuck them on a thing to dry a bit. Then, my dad filled the bottles using a machine and corked them with another machine. I finished them off by putting the seals on with a heating coil that melted the plastic seal on and then I stuck the sticker labels on. In total we made 30 bottles of white wine and 30 bottles of red wine.

I’m making the cake, of course, and cupcakes. I’m also planning on baking a lot the few days before family gets here. It’s so rare that I have so many people to share my baking with. It’s better than me eating it all and getting fatter.

They’ve rented a porta-potty (or, as my dad likes to call it, a thunder shack) since their septic system couldn’t handle all the people staying for those 5 days. They’ve borrowed a big tent from a friend for shelter/shade outside as well as a smaller one they already have.

My mom’s been going cleaning crazy lately scrubbing down every surface possible and trying to clean out the basement. She enlisted me to help paint the gardening shed to match the trim on the house. My dad bought some concrete the other day to fix some cracks in the garage foundation. Basically, they’re trying to overhaul the whole house to make it as perfect as possible to impress everyone.

I, on the other hand, am worried about impressing everyone myself. Last time I was around this much family was three years ago, the last time we went out west for my grandparents’ 50th anniversary. I felt like I was on display the whole time as “Eileen’s daughter”. I was expected to make pleasant small talk with all these distant relatives and sound impressive and be presentable. It was emotionally draining to try and be perfect all the time. I just wanted to be by myself or just sit and listen.

This time, I’m not so socially stunted so I’ll be better at making small talk with a lot of old people I barely know. Although, for the last year I’ve dreaded having to talk to anyone that I haven’t seen in a while because they would ask me what I’ve been up to. I would have to try to explain why I quit college and say I haven’t even gotten a job here yet. At least now I can try to not talk about my past failures and just tell them about going to college in the fall. At least this time the gathering is at my own house so I can just escape to my room if it gets too much. And the party is only one day of seeing a million people, I can handle just my closer family for the few days they’re staying here. I am excited to see my family, because I don’t very often, but that also means there’s that much more pressure to impress everyone.