A Party Predicament

Have you and your family ever been invited to an event not knowing whether it’s really age- or format-appropriate for your young child, RMT’ers?

No, I don’t mean THAT kind of party (do we even get invited to those anymore now that we’re old marrieds-with-kids, ha!). I mean the kind of party where a well-meaning school-parent, neighbor, or other casual acquaintance extends a lovely invitation to a milestone event in their family’s life that they want to share with their wider circle of friends and family.

We received such an invitation the other week, and shamefully I’ve been sitting on it until just the other morning because I just honestly had no idea how to RSVP (turns out they want a reply by this coming weekend, whoops!). It’s a 60th anniversary party for our wonderful neighbor couple around the corner who has had us over to their home a handful of times for lunches and other neighborly open house-style celebrations.

Here’s the more interesting connection: Turns out the couple is very distantly related to my family, but in the “we married into your distant family” sort-of way. In other words, my dad’s dad’s (grandpa’s) first cousin was married to our neighbor lady’s first cousin (follow that?). So, yeah, not direct relatives exactly, but the second cousins whom our neighbors still have relations with are women whom I grew up visiting on a pretty regular basis throughout my childhood, so there are those additional connections bringing us all together. RMT’ers, this is how Facebook can be used as a force for good, not snark (yes, we found all of this out by a simple Facebook reference that I looked into and asked about!).

Anyway back to the party predicament… while our family, including T, has visited with the neighbors at their home a few times now, this party is not being held there but at a more formal venue. While I do not know if the party itself is formal or casual (or somewhere in between), it’s still a more organized event than what we’re used to bringing T to when it involves this circle of friends and family. So what do we do? Do we bring T or not?

I decided it’d be best to gently inquire with the hosts to see what’s what. Here’s what I wrote:

Hi M and B!

Thank you for the invitation to your 60th wedding anniversary (how exciting!)! C and I will attend.

However, while you’ve extended the invitation to T (and thank you for that), I was not sure exactly how formal/ casual your event is going to be? He’s can get a little restless with a long sit-down style dinner (just like any little boy might), but if there’s space for him to roam, other kids his age attending (he’s 4 1/2), and/or maybe music-dancing, and it’s on the more casual side than formal, we’d be more inclined to bring him along. Could you let me know sometime in the coming days so we can make a decision best for everyone (and then plan for a sitter if we need to do that, too)?

Again thanks for extending the invitation to all of us, and I can’t wait to write that Limerick either – how fun!

That last part about a Limerick refers to the couple asking for guests to write and bring a poem in lieu of gifts, which is awesome. You might recall how much I like to spontaneously bust out in poetry as it relates to my own regular life happenings, and if not, well here you go!

Now we wait to hear back from our neighbors. I hope that we can all enjoy this special event together as a family of three, but C and I would completely understand if the event just isn’t set up for kids after all, as welcoming and inclusive as our neighbors are wanting to be with us. The win-win part of this is T probably would be excited either way… that or none the wiser to the situation entirely!

I hope this anecdote helps you fill your party planners (or not) this summer, RMT’ers!

UPDATE July 26, 2012:

C and I chose to attend the party without T. We received a lovely response with the details of the timeline for the event, but didn’t get confirmation (or denial) of whether other children were attending. So I told our hosts that we planned to attend as a couple and arrange for a sitter for T. This was the final response we received from that exchange:

“I think that’s a good decision.”

In the end, we thought so, too. C and I had a wonderful “date night” celebrating 60 years of marriage for our neighbors and friends, and T didn’t miss a thing!

(I wanted to post this as a comment, but comments are closed. No idea why that is, RMT’ers, but I am going to try to fix that setting, sorry about that!)