“My neighbor is going nuts about this graduation party she is hosting and is in a full-blown tizzy about it so I told her I’d help in any way I can.” My friend reported. “Seriously she is so worked up about it. She is stressed out and wants it to be perfect!” Her comments made me reflect about my plan for our son’s high school graduation party.
It was back in 2008 but I still remember it vivid
I had things planned for this Grad Party:
- signs and balloons
- photos and photo-boards
- indoor and outdoor seating.
I too was excited and a bit worked up over hosting this shindig. However, all my planning and effort for a perfect backyard barbecue celebration quickly went awry when the June storm rolled in instead.
We had tables decorated with colorful water-filled SOBE bottles, my son’s favorite drink at the time, and helium balloons floating above each bottle as centerpieces. The backyard had plenty of seating for everyone. “This looks great! I have a few more folding chairs coming from a few neighbors and we are all set!” I told my sisters. They’d traveled to be the ones serving our guests.
I wanted it to be a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach and had even fussed over the flower pots on my front porch. I moved them each a few inches one way or the other then stepped back to compare which position I liked better. It was a bit obsessive. I had balloons too and it looked fabulous. “THERE! DONE!” I decreed.
NO ONE even sat at the tables or noticed the front porch flower pots due to the torrential downpour, each guest made a mad dash to get into our house as quickly as possible.
Instantly soaked from the storm they stood dripping in the entryway like drowned rats. They stood stunned for a moment. They were greeted and welcomed with bath towels to dry off. It was chaos and a mess. We were soggy!
My husband and brother-in-law grilled chicken and hamburgers from inside the house as they pulled the grill as close to the back door as possible. Michael ran out into the treacherous conditions and collected hail and stuck some pieces in the freezer because they were so large he wanted a preserved memory.
Michael’s friends embraced the monsoon-like conditions. ” Let’s go!” They said and dashed out the front door FULL BOAR! These high school kids jumped in the puddles and danced in the river that formed in the street’s gutter. Others were sliding down our backyard’s hill the way we sled on snow during the winter.
They scurried up the soaked hill and body surfed all the way down and repeated the process. I’ll never forget the looks on their faces as they hydroplaned down. They grinned even though the water-spray and grass hit them. Some closed their eyes as they flew down the hill. A few may have used the plastic sleds we own, I’m not really sure. I do remember it was frantic and loud and CRAZY and FUN!
Because of the downpour and flooding, the interstate north of our house closed as the rain continued. This prevented guests from traveling to any other graduation open houses they had on their docket. THEY WERE STUCK. The result was we had a packed house as most lingered and filled both their plates and our home with food and laughter. Friends hung out in the basement where I never imagined them even being allowed. Some folks were up in our loft area sitting two to a chair…they seemed to enjoy it.
It was a great and memorable celebration and we all embraced it. It was quite unexpected. I still laugh at my fussing over the front porch and the other tiny details because I got a crash course in “DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF” and even though the graduation party wasn’t at all what I had envisioned or planned, it was one my son will never forget.
A bit of advice I’d give now:
- lower your expectations
- make people the foucs
- expect to be surprised by something
- you’re not perfect…but you are perfectly loved by God.
- don’t sweat the small stuff (remeber most of it is small stuff)
The LORD’s plan stands firm forever. His thoughts stand firm in every generation.