Archive for January 16th, 2008

French lesson

Against my better judgement, I am allowing Spawn to have a sleepover party this weekend to celebrate yesterday’s birthday.  My reasons for allowing this basically wind down to economics: six children sleeping at my house, watching movies and eating pizza, is a damn sight cheaper than renting the skating rink for three hours. 

Still, six seven-year-olds giggling into the wee hours of the morning measures out to be a long event.  Either I’m brave or I’m crazy for taking this on. 

We sent out the invitations over the weekend.  Since we live in a small town, the mail should have delivered them by Monday.  It is now Wednesday, and I am beginning to remember why I hate hosting parties. 

You see, the invitation included the notation “RSVP”.  Every time I do one of these party things, I am reminded that otherwise reasonably educated and intelligent people have no idea what the notation RSVP means. 

If you do not know this yourself, then I am about to tell you. 

RSVP is a French phrase, the initials of which stand for Répondez S’il Vous Plaît — which means, very simply, “respond, please.”  Which means, acknowledge this invitation and indicate whether or not you will be in attendance. 

RSVP does not mean “call if you can’t come.”  That would be the notation “Regrets Only” which is something else entirely.  That would indicate that I expect you to be there and am planning on you being there, unless you let me know otherwise.  It means that I am planning on having enough food and drink for everyone I am inviting, and I will probably have quite a bit left over. 

RSVP means “I need to know how many people to cook for” or in my case “how much pizza do I need to order.”  And since this is an invitation for a child’s birthday party, I also would like to know how much damage control I need to do if no one comes and my kid is heartbroken.  And how many goody bags do I need to make up. 

(Sidebar:  I hate the notion of goody bags.  I think they are a stupid idea.  But everyone in Spawn’s circle of friends does them, and I am not about to be painted as the Weird Mom who takes a stand on something so petty.)  (There’s plenty of time in Spawn’s teenage years for me to be the Weird Mom.) 

Y’know, I even gave people two options for the RSVP — our home phone number and my email address.  Now, I’m one more likely to respond to an email address than I am to call on the phone, simply because 1) it’s usually pretty late when I get the chance to make phone calls in the evening and I hate receiving phone calls late so I don’t like doing that to other people, and 2) I really don’t like to call people I don’t know well on the phone and have a stilted conversation with them.  Email was made for people like me.  And I assume that most people are like me, and like to have email as a means of communication.  It’s so easy! 

Also, just so you know, RSVP does not mean “I will be following up behind you to see if you are coming.” 

RSVP means you are required to take some action, and you need to be an adult and do that. 

Right now a knot of anxiety is starting to grow in my stomach over this party.  It happens every time I send out invitations, and it’s especially bad when it involves my kid.  I just don’t want Spawn to be hurt.  And as we all know, the easiest way to hurt a little kid is to blow off their invitation to their birthday party that they are so very excited about. 

God, I hate parties. 

Look, there are a lot of things I don’t do right in this world.  I screw up all the time.  But I’ll tell you something, when I get an invitation in the mail that says RSVP, I respond.  And I realize that people probably think I’m strange to call and tell them I (or Spawn) will be in attendance, but that’s okay.  At least I know that I’m doing the right thing. 

Right now I’m assuming that no news is good news and we will have five attendees on Friday evening.  I hope and pray that’s the case, or else Spawn will be a very sad child indeed, and I don’t think I really want that. 

— Mox

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