Tomorrow is my parent’s 25th wedding anniversary. Well, it’s not actually tomorrow. It’s technically on Tuesday, but who throws a party on a Tuesday? And when I say my parents, what I actually mean is my dad and step-mom, but they’ve been married since I was seven and I see my step-mom way more often than my real mom, so I generally refer to them as my parents and my mom and step-dad as, well, my mom and step-dad. Actually, I don’t usually refer to my step-dad at all. It’s not that I dislike him. Not anymore. I just feel sort of blah about him. If he’s there, fine. If he’s not, that’s fine too.
Sometime during my teenage years, I remember my step-mom getting rather excited that she and my dad were getting ready to celebrate their anniversary. I didn’t realize what the hub bub was all about since they didn’t really seem to do much in celebration. Then I found out she was happy their marriage had lasted longer than his marriage to my mom. Not that it was hard to do, my mom got pregnant with me exactly three months after they were married and they split up before I finished kindergarten. The sixth or seventh anniversary generally isn’t a mile stone, but for her, I think it was a sense of permanence. She felt secure in her marriage. I guess she was right since we’ll all be donning our party hats and pigging out on lasagna and cake tomorrow in their honor. Interestingly, both of my actual parents’ second marriages have managed to last a heck of a lot longer than their firsts. I think my mom and step-dad are on anniversary 26 or 27.
Now granted, this is my dad’s second marriage, but it’s my step-mom’s first. And anyway you look at it, I think making it 25 years with the same person, even if the road has been filled with potholes designed to swallow you whole, is no small feat. So, with a little prompting from my aunt (who reminded me it was their 25th), I decided to throw them a party.
That’s when the problems started. Getting information out of either of my parents is a painful process. Neither of them can make a decision. A surprise party was out of the question. I live two hours away and no one in my family can keep a secret. Planning would be a nightmare as I’d have to have it somewhere other than my parent’s house. So, I figured I’d let them decide on the kind of party we had. I gave them several options from a casual dinner with just the family to a more formal dinner consisting of multiple courses, to a giant blow out with all of their friends. A week went by….nothing. When the end of the second week approached, I emailed again. Three days later I got a reply from her. A simple party, just family, casual dinner. Great! I sent her a choice of three menus, all simple, all tasty and all that I was ready to prepare. She chose one. Perfect! I thought I’d be cute and send out invitations. Done!
Then my dad emailed me. Instead of doing the dinner I’d planned, he wanted me to throw some Italian beef in a slow cooker and have some chips and dip. Now, I like making my dad happy and his intention was to make things easier on me, but I don’t know how to make Italian beef. I know what he’s talking about. It’s a dish that used to grace nearly every family get together back when my grandma was alive. It’s fine for a lunch or a potluck, but I don’t know how to make it the way she did. I do, however, know how to make a damn good lasagna, so I stuck with it.
Everything was in motion. I had a great idea for the cake. All I had to do was go shopping. Then my dad emailed me. He wanted to move dinner earlier so that when we finished he could invite friends over for drinks and snacks…the party I had originally suggested and tried to get them to let me throw. So, I email everyone about he earlier dinner hour. I made a list of all the extra things we’d need to accommodate the snacking hours.
Today I started the preparation. The cake was the first item on the agenda. I was trying so hard to keep it quiet since the baby was napping, that I got the steps out of order and things did not get mixed as they should. Then in the process of checking it to see if it was done, feeding him and talking to my aunt, the cake not only got undercooked, but also caved in on me. I had to throw it away and start over. This was not a cake from a nice little mix by Betty Crocker. This was a from scratch cake, so I had to pull all the ingredients out and begin anew. The second one came out perfect. The house smelled of freshly baked chocolate cake. It was lovely. Then, we headed to the store to get all the items for the evening. We were in the check out lane and all was going great. Then my dad called.
Despite the fact that this party is my anniversary present to them, he went ahead and bought all the snacks and drinks for the after party. I looked at my cart full of groceries. The prospect of putting things back was daunting and my baby was getting hungry. Since we are having house guests next week, I figured we’d have a canapé dinner one night and just let it go. We hadn’t gotten any booze aside from beer as I’d forgotten to ask my folks what they wanted, so at least I was spared that expense.
We piled everything into the car and headed for home. I’ve finished the spinach dip which needs to set up and my husband is currently working on the peach frozen custard. Part of me keeps waiting for the phone to ring with yet another change, but it’s his anniversary party, so I guess I won’t complain too much. Plus, I won’t have to throw another one of these things until their 50th or so, and by then he probably won’t care what I do, as long as I bring pudding!