I was up early this morning, doing stuff in the kitchen. Brad got up for work about an hour later and wandered sleepily into the kitchen.
“Mommy,” he said, (Mommy?) “I tweaked my shoulder getting out of bed. Can you rub it a little bit?”
Makes me smile when the kids call me “Mommy.” Every once in a while, it slips out and I see a shadow of the former child inside of them. So I gave my 22 year-old burly boy a little shoulder rub and he felt better, then wrapped me up in a big bear hug. That’s another thing that makes me smile – getting a big hug from a kid who’s now much bigger than I am, but still so sweet inside.
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I’m off work this week, preparing for Kacey’s graduation party. I’m a seasoned veteran now, having thrown two of these shindigs for the boys in recent years. I remember my own graduation party, way back in the day. It was a warm, early summer day. There were Sloppy Joes and baked beans, some salads, I’m sure, and a small cake. There were a couple of picnic tables in the back yard and some lawn chairs and the guests consisted of the extended family, neighbors and a few friends from school. The festivities were wrapped up by early evening. It was a much simpler affair than the parties that go on these days.
I’ve started thinking of this month as graduation season. We’ve been invited to 17 parties and Kacey will attend many more than that, being the social butterfly that she is. The kids invite everyone to their graduation celebrations via FaceBook these days, and they tend to travel in bunches going from one friend’s party to the next. Mark and I have attended a few parties already ourselves and it’s fun to see what everyone does with food and decorating. Most everyone puts together some sort of display with photos of the guest of honor spanning from birth to graduation, and showcasing various awards for academic or athletic achievements. But I can’t help but think what a production a graduation party has become! Many people have their parties catered and go all out. Personally, I’m making myself a little nuts wondering if I’ll have enough food. I’m making most of it myself – shredded beef and turkey for sandwiches, potato salad and three-bean hot dish. Several people have offered to make bars for the occasion. I’ll be cutting up lots of fruit, buying cole slaw from Mark’s favorite restaurant and buying a cake from a local bakery.
These parties have become such big events! As I talk with others whose kids are graduating this year, I know that we’re all stressing out trying to put on a great party. Personally, I’ll worry about the house being clean, only to have people coming and going all day long and have it end up looking like a bomb went off inside anyway!
The grad party is a good excuse though to tackle home improvement projects that tend to get put off otherwise. With all the improvements we’ve done inside the house over the last few years, (i.e. kitchen remodel) we’ve really focused on the outside stuff the last couple of months. I’ve been wanting to buy a canopy for our deck and this party was my motivation to finally do it. We get so much sun there, and it gets so hot, that no one spends any time there. The deck ended up being my pet project this spring and I have to say I’m quite proud of how it turned out. It’s got a fresh coat of stain (thanks mostly to Mark, though we all took a turn with a paint brush) and the new canopy provides nice shade while still allowing an enjoyable amount of sunshine. Yesterday I planted some flowers in pots to put out there and then I strung white lights around the interior. It looks so cool after dark! I’ve named my little project “The Tiki Room.” I don’t know why. It was a joke, but once I started calling it that, the name stuck. Brad, Kacey and I inaugurated the Tiki Room, eating our dinner out there last evening!
So this is what I’m doing with a week off. May not sound like much fun, but I’m enjoying being home, forgetting about work for a while, and being able to see the kids more as they come and go. By the end of this week, the party will happen, rain or shine, ready or not. It will be another busy weekend as we have two neighbors and a few other long-time friends throwing graduation parties this weekend as well. It will be fun to see everyone and celebrate together, and afterwards, we’ll be able to slow down a bit and enjoy the rest of the summer.
Until then, if anyone needs me, I’ll be in the kitchen!