Now I will dispense some advice for anyone hosting a party, especially if you are in your child-bearing years.
This weekend we hosted a last-minute Bar-b-que for a gathering of about 30 people. We saw a huge hunk of ground beef at Costco and thought, “hey, why not invite everyone over?”
Friends were invited. The grill was prepared. I even swept the kitchen floor. We laughed at how much more fun a last-minute party is because you get to avoid all the stress that builds up when you have more lead time.
Before everyone came over, I joked to Jeff that everyone was probably wondering what we were up to with the last-minute invitations. Then, something came over Jeff. Call it an idea or an inspiration, but he suggested that when everyone is sitting around eating we should announce (purely in jest) that we are pregnant.
Y’all, he was so excited about this joke. I thought it could be humorous, and Jeff’s enthusiasm for this little prank was contagious. “Sure, let’s do it. How funny!”
When the time came, Jeff told me to follow his lead. What could I do? Jeff, holding Simon in his arms, who in turn was holding a “Baby Boy” mylar balloon (that I had to purchase when Simon grabbed it at Walgreen’s and would NOT let go) delivered a solemn speech that ended with the line: “We are going to grow by one.”
During Jeff’s speech, I was sitting next to him watching everyone’s faces. Did I mention his mother is in town? (How much does a grandmother like the fake pregnancy joke? Turns out– not so much.) There was shock. There was horror. There was a look from a few that screamed, “how could you be pregnant and not tell me?” Since I am THE BIGGEST BLABBER MOUTH this side of the Mason Dixon line, my friends were justified in feeling incredulous that I could be with child and keep it a secret.
One second after Jeff said the punch line I begged him to set everyone straight. Jeff, in perfect deadpan, said, “just kidding.”
What followed can best be described as radio silence. Everyone looked at me; they looked at him; they looked at the balloon. The collective silence was filled with the unspoken question: “What the hell is going on?” Eventually, we convinced everyone that we were just joking. I offered everyone cake to assuage my guilt for putting my friends, unwittingly, on an emotional roller coaster.
So having lived through this little experiment this weekend, I now am qualified to offer a tip next time you want to perform you own faux pregnancy announcement: Do it before dessert, because if you get that awkward silence, you can break it with offers of sugary goodness that will distract everyone.