The Lost Art of the RSVP.

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about the importance of showing up for your friends and recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what that looks like. We’ll definitely be continuing that conversation because there isn’t a rulebook on what you should show up for (or is there?). I also know there were probably some adverse reactions to it. For example “I can’t possibly go to every single thing I’m invited to!” and “You’re telling me to go to all the events I dread!” The sassy part of me wants to tell you that not everybody wants to show up for a root canal or colonoscopy, but they still do. Instead, I’ll just share with you some GREAT NEWS: you don’t have to!

First up: I want you to know that I’m a recovering flaker. After my wedding 4 years ago and being SO annoyed at people who failed to send in a pre-stamped, pre-addressed RSVP card, I decided I would never be that person again and I’d respond to all the things. The number of weddings to which I have RSVP’d since then: ZERO. I am the friend that people have to text asking food choices. (For future reference: Beef. Always Beef.) I have since taken Wedding RSVP’s off the beam and handed that duty over to my husband who is WAY better at getting things in the mail on time. So I get it. It’s not my strong point and it may not be yours either, but we can do hard things, mmm kay?

So here we go. I call it a lost art because I’m not sure we the people understand what exactly an RSVP is. An RSVP is simply a response. That’s it. When someone says “Please RSVP”, it doesn’t mean, “Please come.” Read that again. It does not mean physically show up, it just means respond. My version is more like this: Please FTLJGMASYONSICPETC. The expanded version: “Please For the Love Just Give Me a Simple Yes or No So I Can Purchase Enough Tortilla Chips.” Pretty basic.

Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s move on.

Phone call. Voicemail. Email. Snail mail. Text message. Facebook message. Face time. Actual real life. Click “going” or “can’t go”. Voxer. Snapchat. Singing telegram. Instagram. Tweet it. Make your husband do it. Power point slideshow. Press release. Message in a bottle. Morse code. Nautical flag. Carrier pigeon. Smoke signal.

Why is it when some of us get invited to something it seems all forms of technology suddenly crap out on us and we just plum forget how to communicate? Listen gang, we don’t have to be afraid of or apologetic about being unable to attend something! I mean out of politeness you should probably include an “I’m so sorry” in your “I can’t make it” but it is truly and totally okay if you can’t be at an event. It’s just not okay to ignore an invitation.

“But we get invited to so many things on Facebook!” I know. Facebook events are both great and annoying at the same time. I know you don’t feel special when you and 300 of your closest friends are invited to yet another online milk homogenization party. But if you’re invited to say, a baby shower or a surprise birthday party or something that someone is actually hosting in his or her home- just respond!

This is one of the easiest ways ever to show up for your people without having to physically show up. This one simple, tiny, thing can make a person feel ignored, annoyed, or just plain crazy; or it can make a person feel valued and appreciative. So if, for some reason, you can’t value someone else’s need above your own convenience for the seconds it takes to RSVP to someone’s something, at least just do it for the sake of being polite. We’ve all been on both sides of the story so how ‘bout we all just do better for each other?

EDIT: I forgot to mention this piece of hilarity and I’m sharing it now because it was a crucial source of inspiration for this post. This year makes 10 since my husband graduated from high school. He graduated with a class of 140ish and do you know how many people RSVP’d to the reunion? EIGHT. *Insert all the crying laughing emojis* AND WE WERE TWO OF THEM. ……. AND I DIDN’T EVEN GO TO HIS HIGH SCHOOL. The dang thing was canceled and we crack up whenever we talk about it. Like apparently this event was a huge surprise to 132 other people and they just couldn’t make a decision. I die. Fortunately we see the friends/classmates we love on a regular basis anyway, and now I’ll probably just make fun of them for not having a 10 yr reunion for the rest of our lives. 😉

It’s the little things.

I’m coming to you pretty much as “live” as you can get on a blog this morning because I’m in the midst of experiencing a miracle. Also, I think this is the point in the blog where I have to make up secret code names for my family members. My creative juices are running on empty this morning but we’ll see what I can do.

Scene: My husband, G-Money, took our two year old, J-man, and our dog Remy out to run some errands this morning. The 8-month-old (8 months! When the heck did that happen!?), MJ is sleeping…. AND MY HOUSE IS QUIET!!!! Like really quiet. The fan is going and the keyboard is clicking and there is no other noise. It’s amazing. That’s the miracle. But wait! There’s more.

I get a text from G$ that the coin arcade is no longer at our bank (WHAAAAT!). However, J-Man not only received a lollipop but a toy football at the bank. A lollipop and a toy football. A lollipop AND a toy football. And all he had to do was wake up this morning, let someone change his diaper, let somebody prepare his breakfast, let somebody dress him, let somebody put his sneakers on, be buckled in a car seat, and be carried into a bank.

What I’d like to know is where are the mom gifts!? “Hi and welcome to the grocery store. You made it, here’s your favorite shade of lipstick.” “Thanks for coming to the bank today! Here’s your iced capp.” “You made it to the post office! Would you like some chocolate? A pedicure? Your sanity back?”

Then I remembered that a couple days ago at Wal-Fart (not a typo, if you’re wondering), I received one of the greatest gifts motherhood has ever given me. It’s about 89 degrees out and we’re leaving the store. I start the vehicle, roll down my driver’s side window a few inches out of habit, opened the back gate, and then, for whatever reason, I decided that J-Man could just plop down in the back for a couple minutes while I unloaded everything else. I remember now that the reason is because he’s a whiny pants and I thought being in some shade as soon as possible would magically fix that. HA! Well, I forgot that he’s a spider monkey and while I was putting MJ in her spot behind the passenger’s seat, he made his way to the driver’s seat and hit the lock button right as I closed MJ’s door. Awesome.

Thankfully, the lift gate was still open so I took a deep breath and hauled myself up into the vehicle, through bucket seats, over consoles, clicked unlock, and removed J-man from the driver’s seat. Cue the tantrum. Also cue hauling the tantrum-throwing child over console, through bucket seats, and out of the back, with a pit stop to threaten a spanking. It’s at the moment that we’re clambering out of the back that I’m pretty certain an angel of the Lord appeared, dressed in some JAMMIN athletic wear, and said unto me “Hey! Let me unload your bags for you!”

Ummmmm YES. I believe in that moment I did say “Oh my gosh thank you SO much!!” But in my head it was more like “What!? This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me!!! A fellow mom saw me in my distress and swooped in to save the day!? This one act of kindness is so amazing! I can die happy! There is hope for humanity! This is how we show up for people! My stress is instantly gone! A tantrum just happened? What tantrum? Everything is amazing!”

As I pulled out of the parking lot I realized I am the worst at basic things like asking people’s names and making friends. So I may not ever see this woman again (I don’t even have a license plate number to stalk), but I’ll always be thankful she saw me in that moment and decided that helping a stranger wouldn’t be awkward.

Miracles are happening every day.

Adult responsibilities.

“Kids are a lot of work,” they said.

“Pets are a big responsibility,” they said.

Well guess what. We just returned from a week long trip out of state and both my children and my dog are still alive.

My petunias, however? Some did not fair so well.

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And yet nobody says, “Hey! You better think long and hard about flower boxes. Maybe start with something like a cactus and then try an aloe plant when you’ve proven yourself to be responsible.”

So I’m here to tell you: Don’t do it. A man cannot serve two masters and houseplants are nothing but enslaving.

Have you ever seen Dennis the Menace? It’s hilarious, which we all know makes it a classic, and I give you permission to stop reading and go watch it right now. That scene where Mrs. Mitchell is desperately trying to find a babysitter with “Don’t Hang Up” coming through the speakers? Yeah. That’ll be me from now on, trying to find someone to water my plants when I’m gone.

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You don’t have to listen to me, though, so pleeeease do not feel like you have to take my word for it. I’m sure these will perk right back up.image2