Please keep your hands and arms inside the car at all times

Please keep your hands and arms inside the car at all times

When you ride a roller coaster, you have to stand in a long line with plenty of chances along the way to back out, or change your mind.  But once you climb into the car, and that safety bar comes down on your legs and you hear that familiar clicking sound as you climb the first hill to the top, you really have no choice but to scream and hang on for the ride.

Throwing a graduation party in our little area of the upper Midwest is a lot like that.

Our standing-in-line time consisted of choosing a date for the party, then changing the date, then choosing a theme, then modifying that, then preparing the location, then, based on the weather, modifying that.  Keep in mind that along with a couple of my girlfriends, I’m supposed to be the authority on this particular event.  I’m in control… writing the book… so to speak….  But when you have two control freak type-A personality parents, and a headstrong determined graduate setting things up, there are bound to be a few knife fights differences of opinion, and control tends to shift.

So, when this past week drew to a close, and my son’s dream of transforming the backyard into a late 1770’s Americana picnic ground was threatened by a 60% chance of thunderstorms, we modified once again.  We brought the plan and carefully laid out logistics for serving pie, lemonade and iced tea to roughly 300 guests over a 3-hour period, indoors.  And I was happy with that. No last minute lawn mowing, pool vacuuming, yard sprucing.  Indoors you don’t have weather variances.  Indoors you have control.  And then, on Saturday morning, hours before the party, we modified yet again.

Weather forecasts be damned.  20mph winds? Pfffsh! 60% chance of rain? Hah!  The graduate and his father’s maniacal combined determination, and their outright defiance of Mother Nature took over.  The party was going to be outside.  Tents went up, chairs and tables were delivered, and all of a sudden I was in that car, and the safety bar slammed down on my legs. I could hear that familiar clicking sound.  All I could do was hold on for the ride…. oh, and scream.  Which I did only a couple of times.

All in all, it was a fabulous party, with a light breeze, minimal rain and a great turnout. Although we were all too busy cutting pies, and greeting guests to take pictures during the festivities, here are a few representative shots after it was all over…

The entrance…

The tents and tables…

The giant version of the Declaration of Independence we made for wellwishers to sign instead of a guestbook

The uber-cool centerpieces with the American University logo…

and finally, the obligatory “shrine to my kid” wall of memorabilia…

I came to the conclusion, as I was in the zen-like state of cutting pies, and monitoring drink levels, busy being busy, that my roller coaster metaphor also applies to the emotions that are inevitable in this life phase. All the hoopla and ballyhoo of the party provides a welcome but temporary distraction, because you know this ride is about to end.


  • Posted May 29, 2011 1:45 pm 0Likes
    by smalltownmom

    Yay! I'm glad it went well.

  • Posted May 29, 2011 1:59 pm 0Likes
    by St. Elizabeth of Cayce

    Wow, what a great party! I liked the wall of honor and the DofI sign-in sheet.

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