Food. Tent. Cornhole: Surviving the Graduation Party Thing

AUTHOR: | POSTED: June 5, 2013 | COMMENTS: 5 Comments
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Marriage,

Carolyn Savage

This was my rookie year.

At party throwing?  No.  At graduation party throwing?  Yes.

Honestly I kind of knew the gig.  As Drew so eloquently reminded me the other day, “Mom.  It’s a graduation party.  Food.  Tent.  Cornhole.”  In other words, “Get a grip, woman.”

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Here’s the thing that threw me off a little.  I ambitiously decided to pick off Drew’s grad party right on the heels of graduation.  It seemed reasonable back in April.  “Drew graduates the Thursday before Memorial Day.  We’ll have the party Memorial Day weekend.”  The idea was in the spirit of “get if over with” mixed in with a little desire to strike while the whole graduation-accomplishment-thing was hot.

What I didn’t think about was the fact that in order to have a party with food, tent, and cornhole, it might be desirable to have the yard in decent shape which usually doesn’t happen in our neck-of-the-woods until mid-June.  Add in the recent shenanigans with interior redesign projects that took turns for the more complicated, and we had a recipe for complete chaos and unabashed bitchiness the week before the party.

The craziness of our to-do list crescendoed the day of the big shindig when two hours before the party I nearly served Sean with divorce papers while he was standing under a tree in our back forty with a weed wacker.  Why?  Because he was wacking weeds in our back forty two hours before the party started.  Of course, when I questioned him as to why the hell he thought these weeds that no one can see from our back yard were worthy of his time right before our guests arrived I’m pretty sure he was also contemplating attorneys and custody arrangements.

I definitely had my witch on that afternoon, and I think he was back there doing pointless stuff because he was in self-preservation mode.

I wish I didn’t get this way before a large event.  I can’t help it.  Stress does bad things to my mood. (Especially when the people around me are doing stupid stuff.  Do you see what I just did?   Honestly I think the whole “she’s a bitch” -v- “he’s stupid” dilemma is kind of a chicken or the egg thing.  Don’t you think?)

Anyways, the party went off just fine and now that it’s over we are faced with surviving the next stage of the whole graduation thing.  Namely, the onslot of parties.  Currently I have 23 graduation party invitations hanging on my fridge.  Surviving the revolving door of “food.  tent.  cornhole” isn’t the problem.  Nobody loves a good hot dog more than our brood.  It’s how to avoid going broke while trying to appropriately gift all these graduates that is causing me a wee bit of stress.  After Sean and I ruled out selling one of Drew’s kidneys,I did a little research as to what might be considered a thoughtful but more affordable option for gifts.  I was also curious as to how others financially survive the grad party circuit.

First thing I learned was that this whole party phenomenon is regional.  Meaning certain parts of the U.S. don’t subscribe to this tradition.  In fact, I didn’t have a high school graduation party and I don’t remember going to any for my friends. It must not have been a central Illinois thing.  And…yes.  I’m a little bitter.

Bitterness aside,  I found some great suggestions for gifts that I can attest to as Drew received some from the list and they were a hit.

Gift suggestions for a high school/college bound graduate

  • shower caddy filled with basic toiletries
  • laundry basket filled with detergent, fabric softener and a “how to” note card
  • laundry bag
  • set of towels
  • ear buds
  • cordless computer mouse
  • desk lamp for dorm
  • picture frame
  • wallet

Of course, cash is king so what exactly is the perfect amount to gift a grad?  I guess that depends on your relationship.  It seemed that a reasonable and affordable amount would be $20.  After all, no one is happier to have a twenty spot in their pocket then a poor college student.  Right?Drew received amounts all over the board and frankly, I was floored by people’s generosity.  I also felt a little funny about it because raising cash for him was not the purpose for the party.  We really just wanted to celebrate his graduation.

That being said, his thank you notes are almost completed, and I couldn’t be happier the entire ordeal is finished.  I’ve learned my lesson about party timing, inopportune weed wacking and graduation gift giving and for that, I am grateful.

After all, the count down for the next graduation has already started.

We are officially T-minus two years and counting.

*****

A few pics from the celebration…

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MK loves Drew's best bud, Taylor.  She's going to really miss him when he leaves for Xavier University in the fall.

MK loves Drew’s best bud, Taylor. She’s going to really miss him when he leaves for Xavier University in the fall.

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I can’t believe all of these kids have grown up so fast.   They’ve all done so well.  We wish them all the best as they head off to college in the fall!

5 Comments on “ Food. Tent. Cornhole: Surviving the Graduation Party Thing ”

  • Lynda crossman | June 5th, 2013 11:20 am

    Congrats! Yeah for everyone! We also had a college graduation this year! So I can totally relate on a lot of your point especially the disappearing husband trick. I was laughing out loud with your description…oh the bitchism roars here when people stand around playing pocket pool and there is stuff to be done! Frankly they are just in the way but, then I would not be able to do without them( but we won’t tell them that.) glad you survived! Signet rings are nice gifts for our own graduates. 🙂

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  • Mary V | June 5th, 2013 12:15 pm

    Too late to be much help now but you should have called me! That’s what my business does – set up your party and take the stress off you!! I’m glad your party turned out great (keep me in mind for the next one!)

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  • Karen Florian | June 5th, 2013 5:58 pm

    Well you took me down memory lane…a few years back now. I remember when I started competing with other parties dates is when my husband and I decided no graduation parties!! (After all they are suppose to graduate…right?) we decided on taking grandparents and family out to eat at a really nice restaurant, then wrote a check to the girls for what the price of the party would have cost. They loved the cash! No bitchiness, no ridiculous husband syndrome and no worries about kids and the sneaking things that could go along with parties. Those that wanted to celebrate sent them wishes. It was a heavenly time for all of us! Our girls hated being the center of attention so, for us this just seemed logical! Not right for everyone but it worked well for us! Enjoy the rest of the summer…and just think your back 40 is weed free!! 🙂

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  • bea | June 5th, 2013 7:55 pm

    You remind me of one of the women in Hannah and her Sisters by Woody Allen. Chill, girly girl. Way to go for your husband to learn “self gratifying” techniques to survive. Another idea for our graduates is to give an envelope of loving words and praise. This costs nothing, is not materialistic and shows great gratitude without stressing anyone out. I keep hoping your find the Gift of quiet and calm.

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  • Teri | June 6th, 2013 10:14 am

    I’ve got 2 more years til the big G-Day and party. Until then I’ll worry vicariously through all the other moms who are going through what you’ve been through. And start drinking.

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