This year has been a perfect storm of all of the above.
1. The Parish Festival was this weekend, and knowing I had a First Communion the same weekend, I told them I couldn't work this year. So they asked, naturally, if I would consider "chairing" an event, which only entails finding volunteers in advance.
Here's the thing with volunteer stuff-- I can only say no once. If my first no is met with another question that sounds like a mild compromise, I can never draw enough ammunition on the spot to answer a consecutive no, which is how, last year, in the throws of labor with a miscarriage, I became the Chair of the Skeeball booth. And this year, in the wake of several deaths in the family, with full knowledge I'd be celebrating two birthdays, an anniversary, a First Communion, and a graduation, I became Chair of the Three Point Challenge.
Believe it or not, my first mass email calling for volunteers yielded nothing. Not a soul answered. So, I began phase two of finding volunteers, whereby I go through the Parish directory and leave messages on people's voicemail--because no one answers my call when they don't recognize my number. Naturally, having heard my actual message, no one called me back--except for one woman who, with a little too much joy in her voice, let me know she was going to be out of town the weekend of the festival.
During phase three, I complain to friends who are parishioners about how no one has answered my request for volunteers. I usually get one or two guilt volunteers during this phase. And in phase four, I myself man the booth for all the empty slots I was unable to fill. This is why, Saturday night, after the house was cleaned, and the casseroles prepared for Sunday morning's First Communion, I was trekking off to the graveyard shift at the festival, rather than putting up my weary feet.
The Three Point Challenge made about $15 on that shift, which meant most of the time, I spent sitting at a table awaiting competitors, watching the Crazy Bus ride as hydraulic mechanisms shifted and a geometric pattern of lights made a slow circumference in the dark to the tunes of eighties hair bands. It was hypnotizing, actually--probably more restful than lying in bed thinking about everything I needed to do.
2. Among the things I needed to do, was figure out who all was coming to my house the following day. Because it occurred to me, that in my quest to find people to work the festival, I might not have done a very good job of inviting people to our party. I know I had told all the family verbally, but I'd never sent invitations in writing. And there was a slew of friends I wanted to invite, but I was waiting to invite until I knew whether or not I'd actually pull off the party.
I didn't know I was pulling off the party until the night before, sitting and watching the Crazy Bus-- it occurred to me that I had done it--I had accomplished all the shopping, cooking and cleaning I needed to do to have a big party, and I hadn't invited anyone but family, a few of whom had already sent regrets.
After the Mass on Sunday, at which my daughter received her First Communion, looking angelic and feeling great fervor for the Lord (maybe), my sister-in-law let me know that one of her kids had thrown up in the bushes outside Church and that she was taking her brood and heading home. My other brother-in-law had a fence to paint, or something, which made the head count at the party a rousing four grandparents.
So, I started inviting people at Church, and I managed to rope in some friends who have a bunch of kids--actually, one daughter and four boys, like us--and voila--a party!
3. So, I think it all came off ok this weekend. I'm up to my ears in leftover casserole, which I tried foisting on the kids for dinner last night, and again for breakfast this morning. There's still the option of a casserole dinner tonight, but the kids are already starting to make fun of me for answering "casserole" to their every inquiry.
For example, "What's for dessert?"--Casserole.
Which reminds me, next weekend, I've got to conjure up another party or four, for the birthdays and the fifth grade graduation, oh, and a kindergarten graduation (which we'll probably fluff over due to the rousing preschool graduation we celebrated for the same pupil last year). I'm going to give myself a little break though before I start thinking about it--maybe til Wednesday when school's out, and I'm sure to have all kinds of time for party planning and casserole making. Though maybe next week we'll just have hot dogs so I have time to invite some guests.