Wednesday, August 17, 2011

don't put off to tomorrow (m)

My mother's favorite expression: "Don't put off 'till tomorrow what you can do today."

My neighbors and I have been talking about getting together for dinner for some time.  Okay, 12 years to be exact.  Oh, we visit at each other's homes, the women have had lunch together, people drop in and out of homes to borrow/return things.  When we have big occasion parties such as graduations, 50th birthdays, they are invited along with all the relatives.  But a dinner at our home with just them and their families and us and our family...well, it's been 12 years.

We talk about it often.  "We should get together for dinner.  Just our families.  Before summer ends.  Before school starts."

What was my excuse?  I can't even remember.  Probably something lame like the house wasn't clean, the family room wasn't decorated enough (not that they'd care).  The outside needed paint.

Last week, I looked at the calendar.  Sam is leaving to go back to college in a few days. S's daughter C is going to college for the first time.  J's son T is recovering from hip surgery and is home from the hospital.  S's son K is headed to New York.  Harrison is in between competitions.  I seized the window of opportunity and invited everyone for an impromptu gathering.

The response was overwhelming.  Everyone dropped everything and made it their top priority to come.

There were fourteen of us tonight at my home.  My husband cooks tenderloin and chicken on the grill.  I make a tomato and mozzarella salad and an appetizer and fruit salad.  J brings veggies and dip and dessert.  S brings corn on the cob, a green salad and a cake for J's 20th wedding anniversary which is tonight.  Nothing fancy, nothing ambitious. 

The outside of my house looks great because of the recent 40th wedding anniversary party for my brother.  The inside is another story with the ever-present ironing board in the kitchen and bills on the family room table.  I'm not sure I even made the beds today. 

Who cares?

We talk, share stories over the years (the time S's daughter picked up the phone extension when I was on with my uptight boss and whispered, "Shut up.").  We laugh.  We add a table to the big long table so the kids could join the conversation.  We learn something about each kid as well as the parents.

Everyone helps set up and clean up.  For fourteen people, it is the easiest dinner party I've ever thrown.

I'm glad we did it.  I learned not to wait to seize opportunities to be with the people in our lives who mean something to us.

The biggest surprise?  The food is incidental to the evening.

I think I'm evolving as a human being.

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