Over the years I have read a number of novels that detailed the bygone practices associated with the etiquette of social interaction. Those were the days long before modern conveniences allowed our friends and family to intrude at all hours, and the social norms dictated when, and whom, could show up on your doorstep and expect to gain entry. While I don't wish to reinvent an Austenesque era of calling cards and stiff protocols, I would like for the average American to display just a little common frickin' decency.
We don't do many formal social occasions in my family, and I don't host birthday parties for my kids every year. This year, Crash asked to have a 'friends' birthday in addition to family, so we indulged him. I could have kissed the three people that responded to the invitation in the first 24 hours, as I then spent the next two weeks wondering if there would only be four kids at a party I booked for a minimum of ten. I made the mistake of not requesting responses by a certain date, and, until today, I thought that my error was the reason that so many people responded late. And that was in addition to the ones that didn't respond at all, some of which showed up anyway.
Fast forward to this week. Bang earned the rank of Eagle Scout and the ceremony that marks that occasion is planned for tomorrow. We mailed formal invitations six weeks ago. His troop posted it on their social media pages last month. There have been announcements at each weekly Scout meeting for the past few weeks. I thought I had corrected my error by putting a response deadline on the invite, a very necessary thing this go round, so the caterer could plan accordingly. The deadline was last Sunday. I waited until Tuesday morning to give the caterer the final number. By Tuesday evening, twenty-one additional people said they were coming. I hustled and added on to the catering order and upped the size of the cake I had ordered. And, now, the day before the event, five more people have called just this morning to say they are coming. The torrential rains have canceled every outdoor event, so folks are suddenly available.
I would love to have a 'the more the merrier' attitude, but when I may be whispering to my family to hold off on eating to make sure there is enough to accommodate all the late responders and surprise attendees, it is hard to be gracious. On the flip side, half of the people that said they were going to come are just as likely to no-show without an explanation, and my family could be eating barbeque for the next week.