This weekend I threw a birthday party for my husband. He turned 50, and though he isn't a birthday party kind of guy, I think that 50 is one of those milestone birthdays that requires a different kind of celebration. I asked him if I could throw him a party (we aren't the surprise party type of people - I can't keep secrets, nor could I pull off all the work involved without some assistance from him).
He said he was good with a party, but he didn't want it to be all about him. Huh. That's kind of a hard request to fulfill. A 50th birthday party that isn't all about the guy who is turning 50. So I asked a couple of friends for ideas, and one particular friend suggested a murder mystery party. She hosts them a lot, and I've often listened with intrigue about how they work and how much fun people have at them. So a little over a month ago, I bit the bullet and sent out the invites for a "Murder at the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta"/50th birthday celebration to about 50 of our friends.
And then I started planning. I don't throw parties often, but I generally take the planning pretty seriously. And I did with this one too, but I also made a little shift that made it so much more fun for me - I gave myself permission to be okay if the party ended up being a flop. There were so many factors involved that are above and beyond the traditional party -- with a murder mystery, you have to assign roles to people, and then hope that when they say they are coming, they show up. That's something that is mostly out of my control, and "old Kathy" (as I like to refer her) didn't like not being in control. Or at least convincing myself that I was in control. I even sent out a note to everyone the night before to come with a sense of humor and an open mind about how the evening might play out. Not only was I giving myself permission to let of go any ideas of the party going perfectly, but I was also open with people that I am okay with it not going perfectly. It was so freeing...
And, it turns out, a few people did cancel last minute. Because shit happens, and sometimes people cancel last minute. Some of them were assigned to roles necessary for the murder mystery. But I think because I hadn't planned on everything being perfect, and wasn't expecting myself to pull off the perfect night, I was able to roll with it and find people to fill in for those roles.
The result? An evening of lots of laughing, kicking back and catching up with friends. And a great way to celebrate my husband turning 50. I dare say it turned out to be a perfect night.