Last night was an important event in our family’s journey. My husband’s firm hosted a Bon Voyage cocktail party for him at the fabulous Bridgewater Hall in Manchester which was attended by clients, contacts, colleagues and his family. Our boys ages range from 25 – 17 years and their experience of ‘public’ events of this kind has been, not surprisingly, rather limited. They did us and themselves proud though – networking and chatting like professionals.
As with so many social events of this scale, we all came away regretting not having had more time to talk to more people but in full agreement that the night had been a great success. It was lovely for the boys to hear people talking about a man that they only really know of as ‘dad’ in such glowing terms and with obvious regret that he’s leaving Manchester coupled with admiration at the adventure we’re embarking on.
As we settled down together for the night and reflected on what a great evening we’d had, my husband became very quiet and started to list all the people who hadn’t made it, some of whom had accepted and not then sent any apology for their absence. Oh how human – why do we so often reflect on what we don’t like or what didn’t happen?! I made the usual platitudes about how many did come (far more than didn’t) and how we hadn’t managed to speak to everyone anyway so more guests would only have exacerbated the situation. He was slightly mollified but still a little upset by some of the ‘no shows’.
This got me thinking though. Hand on heart, not one of those people meant him any harm by not attending. Some will have had cast iron, genuine reasons for their absence. And for many they simply won’t even have thought that their presence would be missed.
What I’ve taken from the evening, in addition to the friendship and support of so many guests and a great sense of pride in our boys, is a reminder to Keep Your Word. I am as guilty as the next person of saying I’ll do something (and meaning it at the time) and then changing my mind, often due to tiredness or lethargy rather than anything more acceptable as an excuse. So, one thing I want to take to Hanoi next month is a commitment to keep my word. If I commit to something, business or social, my aim is to keep that commitment and not assume that my absence won’t be noticed or missed.
Right, back to sorting the cookery books into piles to either ship or store!