Let me start by saying that I am pretty, um, how shall I word it... Uncultured. Some girls dream about their wedding, and the big fancy dresses they'll wear, and the food they'll serve, and the songs they'll dance to... Me? My only cares about my wedding were that my dog could be there, and that I could invite EVERYONE. I just wanted to be able to have anyone and everyone be allowed. I've heard of many weddings that I wasn't invited to because "we couldn't afford it" or "there wasn't enough room", and I didn't want anyone feeling left out of mine. Plus, I thought it was a great reason to see family and friends that we hadn't seen in years.

I don't throw parties. Other than my wedding and baby shower, I'm not sure I've ever thrown a real party in my life, at least before Maiya was born. But now that she is here, she is very social and loves parties, and I find myself with the same attitude towards her parties as I did my wedding. So, for her first two parties, I invited EVERYONE. I specifically have her parties out doors at a park, so that people are free to do as they want. Come when they want, leave when they want. Eat what they want when they want. Play any games they want (we try to have stuff like horse shoes or volleyball going on for the adults). And of course lots of picnic tables for easy mingling! I just see it as a great (and unfortunately VERY rare) opportunity to see people that we maybe wouldn't see otherwise. I mean, yeah, we see the "immediate" family members, like her grandparents, for Christmas and Thanksgiving, but I have a lot of cousins, aunts, uncles, old coworkers, old associates from my volunteer gigs that I've been seriously lax on since having her, and even some friends that our schedules don't match up and we almost never see each other.

So, that tells you how I think, and you've probably guessed what my question is...

I've been invting ALL of them, since I really do want to see them. And I figure, as she gets older, we will have more kid-oriented parties, that it wouldn't be very good to invite adults to. But for now, a kid and adult friendly picnic at a park is good for everyone. Or so I thought... Now, as I am planning her 3rd birthday party, I've been talking to people about it, and I've had some people mention, for example, "Maybe you shouldn't invite everyone from the theater."

When I asked why, I was told it seems like I'm just trying to get more gifts. Honestly, that pretty much sucked to hear. I never, ever thought about that. It's just that I really like these people, and almost NEVER see them. Since a lot of them didn't come to her second birthday, that means it's been nearly two years since I've seen some of them. There are some I haven't seen since her baby shower, even! On the invites, I even say "We don't need gifts, we just want to see you!" And yet people still feel this way?

I mean, if we got to see each other EVER I would understand. What kind of childless adult wants to go to a three year old's birthday party? But we don't. These are people that I was never friends with outside of whatever circle I knew them in, but I DO like them. I would really like if we could see them in person (some are on Facebook). Plus, I want them to know that, even if we don't see each other, and even if they don't come, I do still think about them. I just want them to come and have a little fun, even if it's just to sit in the sunshine and chat for an hour while eating the free food. And I say that on the invites! "We'll have games for the kids, and games for adults! Or just come and eat our food. We don't need gifts, we just want to see you!" (Well, I haven't written this party's invitation yet, so I may not go through the effort to provide adult games, if I don't invite any childless adults...) And this question applies to all people I don't see regularly, with and without kids.

Anyway, all this long windedness just to ask... Would you be offended if you got an invitation to a party from someone that you hadn't seen in a while? Would you feel like that person was just trying to get more gifts EVEN IF THE INVITATION SAYS NO GIFTS NEEDED????

I'm so sad (as you can probably tell since this is so long now!) that it seems as though I was offending some people by inviting them. Despite the explicit description on the invitation. I've been planning on inviting everyone all along again, but now I am having second thoughts.

What do you all think? Should I continue to invite everyone, in hopes that maybe I can see some people I haven't seen in a while? And just to let them know I'm still thinking of them? Or is that insulting and just begging for gifts? Should I drop some of these people off my invite list? Honestly, that seems so insulting, in my opinion, and I hate to do it! But I want to be socially acceptable, ya know...