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Monday, July 4, 2011

They've only just begun

“ many roads to choose. We’ll start out walkin’ and learn to run...and yes, we’ve just begun...” The Carpenters

The countdown is on. In just a few nights, my daughter graduates from high school. I have been feeling rather weepy and discombobulated about the whole thing. My daughter knows this. And so what does she do about it? She takes advantage of my moment of weakness and, for the first time in her teenaged years, asks us to do something for her. She asks us to host the After-Grad Party at the farm. Oi-vay.
How do we say no? That’s right. We don’t. We are somewhat honoured to have been asked. We say yes. But not right away. First, we called friends who had hosted after-grad in previous years. We got advice on how to orchestrate the whole event so that a good time is had by all, and everyone gets home safely. Mostly it’s about collecting car keys, parking cars where they cannot be easily retrieved (i.e. in the grazing pasture of a biting donkey and a charging ram) and setting up tents. Lots of tents.
I have enlisted the help of a few of the other parents of graduates, in case I need drivers to transport partiers to their homes. For most of the evening, I imagine we will be sitting on the screened-in porch, not exactly eavesdropping on the festivities but definitely keeping an ear out for trouble. But I don’t think we really have much to worry about. We have a smart bunch of kids graduating this year. Actually, this generation seems to be much better at planning ahead and thinking things through than, for example, their parents were at the same age.
I will be getting the Farmer to reinforce the gates to the barnyard so that no revelers end up on the manure side of the fence in the dark. I don’t want anyone getting stepped on by a horse – or attempting to ride her.
Paulina has asked some friends to come over to help set up on Wednesday morning. By the time this column is in print, the dance floor will be built, the tent over the dance floor will be erected, the porta-pottie will be in place and the firewood will be neatly stacked next to the bonfire pit. Tiki torches will be installed around the yard and strings of lights will be hung from the trees to keep party guests from wandering into the stinging nettle in the dark.
The graduating class of 2011 has compiled lists of music requests, and Paulina has spent the better part of a week downloading songs. I suggested we set up a karaoke machine. I don’t think she heard me. The kids (can I still call them that?) have their own ideas about how to celebrate the end of their high school careers.
In order to recognize certain students’ unique contributions to high school life, awards will be presented. I imagine they will bear the titles: Best Dressed; Drama Queen; Teacher’s Pet; Class Clown, etc. But I could be wrong. They have their own special memories, their own achievements to celebrate, their own shared experiences to commemorate at their 2011 After-Grad Oscars. This is their night. We are just the ones honoured to be hosting for them, giving them a safe place to celebrate friendships, the end of one phase of their lives and the beginning of the next.
I just hope Paulina gets home from Wonderland in time to help me set up those tiki torches or the Farmer is going to be grumpy.

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