Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Still adjusting

I love to entertain. I love to have a couple of friends over for a glass of wine, several couples for a nice dinner, whole families for a weekend, or big shindigs for whatever occasion I can drum up.

I'm not Martha Stewart. All those cool party ideas on Pinterest are merely aspirational for me. When we invite friends over to hang out at the pool or the fire pit we throw together a plate of cheese and crackers or bowls of chips and salsa and a roll out a cooler full of beer. Even my big parties aren't much on decor or presentation.

But I enjoy them. Colin enjoys them. Our friends must enjoy them, unless they just feel compelled to show up out of politeness. We always have tasty food and plenty of it. And although it's work, it's also--in a weird way--kind of effortless.

Except for this time.

We have a graduation party this weekend. This is our fourth and final graduation party. Our oldest son has graduated from college. Our youngest son has finished his homeschool studies. And their cousin has also graduated from high school. It's outside-party season, which is my favorite.

This should be a breeze.

But it just isn't clicking. I've flip-flopped on my menu 87,000 times. I can't seem to get my mind wrapped around what needs to be accomplished. And then, suddenly, this weekend, I figured out what my problem is.

I don't have my Beppy.

This is the first major party that I've thrown without the help and input of my daughter. I try to bounce menu ideas off of my sons, and they stare blankly. I think about favorites that I would like to make, but realize that I can't do that much last minute prep alone. I dread Saturday morning with a crew of three--very helpful--males for last-minute party prep, and not another female in sight. (Because, you know, there are some things that we just KNOW need to be done.) She has been my right hand in  party-throwing since the first birthday party that we had for one of her brothers, probably around 1995.

 I may never manage to serve olive cheese balls again. It's another in a long string of adjustments to  my oldest child/only daughter/cooking-shopping-scrapping buddy abandoning me growing up and having a life of her own.

Oh, I'll survive. The party is slowly coming together, but things won't be quite as good as they would have been. No one else may even notice. (Please God!) But I'll know.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Times to remember

So, for the last 11 days I've been in Tucson. This is a new adventure for me.

I'm in Tucson because my beautiful daughter lives here now--thank goodness not permanently--and she is having a bit of a busy time, having given birth to our first grandson, John Ronald, a couple of days after I arrived.

My main occupation, joyfully so, has been chasing after, feeding, playing with, bathing, etc., my 20 month old granddaughter Helen. Between this activity and spending lots of time with my daughter, this has been the best two weeks I have had in a very long time. Sure, I miss home. But I have spent most of the last two and a half years missing my daughter, and, after this visit, I am sure I will be missing my granddaughter nearly as much!
Today we were out running a few errands and had one of those moments that make you think, "This. I want to remember this feeling." We were driving north toward the Catalina foothills on a slightly windy, pretty road. We had the windows down, enjoying the breeze of the sunny, mid-70s afternoon. We had our Starbucks drinks and Helen was enjoying a bit of a cheese danish and the feel of the wind. And we were all rocking to "Sweet Child o' Mine," with Bethany and I both singing out loud.

Yep. Happy.

It reminded me that even if we're apart most of the time, we're still us. When we're together, we still laugh, sometimes until we cry. We have all of the memories from the 25 years that we lived under the same roof. And now we have Helen to share them with.