It's that time of year for many of you. Graduation is quickly approaching. I tried to ignore the calendar in 2016. Nope, this is not the last homecoming dance. I don't want to hear about how this is the last time she will cheer for her high school. I don't care that it's Senior prom, that doesn't mean May comes after April.
I love to plan parties. I had a caterer for my daughter's first birthday. My youngest daughter had the fire department come to her party and spray their hoses up above our cul-de-sac for a bunch of screeching kids. So when it came time to plan the "she's not really graduating party", I went into full party mode.
My oldest daughter and her best friend have been inseparable since 1st grade. Her mom and I started discussing a party together their Freshman year. But, when the time was actually getting closer, it was like a game of chicken, who would mention it first?
In my earlier blog posts I told the story of how our rental lease ended and our home was not done it's renovation, of course! So we had no other choice but to move into our barn. The barn was completed in the nick of time, just days before we had to move in. Six weeks later the builder let us know the house would be ready around the 2nd week of May. Yay, that's the week of graduation (insert sarcasm here)! Even more exciting, they told us the city would issue our final inspection on her actual graduation day.
So, there we were, up at the crack of dawn moving our possessions from the barn to the house on graduation day. It worked out well because the ceremony was not until 8pm. Talk about CHAOS...this was the mother of all chaos management. Our dearest friends helped, carrying our clothing from the horse stalls, where we had stationed our closets, to the house. Back and forth we went. My mom was in the master closet organizing, because she is the "master organizer". There was 1 major disadvantage to this plan. All of my closest friends saw ALL of my clothing and shoes. There was a lot of judgement. I really felt like I had to keep defending myself and the 4 pairs of matching sandals in different colors. Come on, when I find a pair I like for my fat feet, I buy a few.
So after months of 2 somber moms planning this joyous event, it was the day of the party. I should mention it was 1 week to the day after we moved into the house. Yes, just 1 week!
As you all know, I LOVE to manage chaos. I think chaos is when I execute best. Both the girls were going to the University of Kansas in the fall so we chose a vintage KU theme. I scoured the flea markets, Etsy and eBay for as many vintage KU items I could find. We used red and white checked tablecloths. Giant red & blue balloons were tied to twine with torn up fabric bows in, you guessed it, red and blue. My favorite find were popcorn boxes from the KU football stadium, still sealed, from the 60's.
The weather was pure perfection,
not too hot or humid. No rain in sight and a light breeze. God (and my sweet Dad) were smiling down on me saying, "take a day off from the chaos".
We had the food buffet, dessert table, gift table & candy bar inside the barn. We used a vintage red suitcase for cards. We tied blue balloons to red lanterns. The girls' senior photos were each on a canvas with a white border for friends and families to sign.
We used vintage KU cloth napkins, blankets and quilts to cover the plain white tablecloths. The candy bar was adorbs! We bought only red and blue candy of course. There were little plastic bags for guests to scoop what they wanted and tie with twine.
We had a dunk tank, giant jenga, corn hole, volleyball and an adorable shaved ice camper named Sweet Caroline, my sweet daughter's name.
I didn't cry at all during the party. There were too many people I hadn't seen in so long & what a joy to catch up. People came and went, people sat and talked. My brother-in-law's band played into the evening. Both parents spoke about our daughters, their hearts, their friendship & their future. We danced & danced & danced, especially to Sweet Caroline.
My advice to all of you planning a graduation party of your own as you read this, it's ok to be sad. All the planning and shopping and phone calls will keep your mind off the inevitable. They do grow up, the years really do fly by and they really do leave the "nest". This party was a celebration of all of that. These photos are priceless because they not only show what it looked like on that day, but they tell a story of 2 girls. 2 girls with missing teeth, who sang Hannah Montana together, fought over a boy in middle school, cheered together in high school & now celebrating all of that together- and still inseparable! I look at my Sweet Caroline, smile & think- through all the chaos- Mama did good. Yep, I did really good!
Be kind & love others,