Thursday, June 30, 2016

Grad 2016

If you hear a giant sigh and an unexplained gust of wind, that's probably me exhaling. 

The last few days have been a crazy whirlwind of grad preparations and celebrations. It's been busy and hectic and frantic, but tons of fun. It's not every day that our firstborn graduates from high school. Well, it felt like every day the past two days: on Tuesday was her convocation, followed by a party with family and friends that evening, and then Wednesday was the dinner and safe grad party.

The convocation was at Calvary Temple and if you've ever wondered what it would be like to sit through 300+ kids receiving their diplomas, I can tell you. It's long. The pews were hard. If my friend Jenn had told me about Graduation Bingo a little sooner, the three-hour ceremony would have been a lot more entertaining. (The link is a variation of the one she shared on Facebook. I'm pretty sure I heard every single one of these phrases). But it was pretty cool to see all these kids - all shiny and fresh and excited - get their diplomas. Especially my kid. We're super proud of her. She graduated with a full International Baccalaureate diploma, Kappa Sigma (overall average over 80%). I'm sorry to brag, but I know how hard she worked hard for that, and how she stuck with the full IB program even when a lot of her friends went to partial IB.

After the convocation, we rushed home all shaky and hungry and crampy from sitting so long. Neve was not happy about missing the grade six farewell at her school to watch Chloe graduate, and she made me very unhappy about it too. Let's just say it was a big relief to drop her off at school on our way home.

The afternoon was spent preparing for the party, prettying up the yard and making food. And then the party started and the guests arrived. I'll let the pictures tell the story.

 It looks like a burning bush above; it's just the way the camera caught the lights. No fire extinguisher needed. My friend Kristin came over in the afternoon to decorate. She did a fantastic job. She strung up "first day of school" photos from every single year from Nursery to Grade 12. I was pretty proud of myself for not only taking a photo every single year, but for finding and printing all the photos. It took a lot of digging; Chloe helped. On the table were momentos from her school years: artwork, class picture, photos, cheer stuff, favourite books, etc.

The weather was perfect. I prayed very hard, especially when an ominous cloud made a brief appearance. I can't imagine doing this party inside. One thing I did not think to pray for was for the mosquito-spraying truck to stay away.

Siobhan had told us about a weird concoction that's supposed to repel mosquitos, made of listerine, beer, and epsom salts. I can't even imagine how or why someone came up with that combo. But Dale sprayed it all around the yard before the party and the mosquitos were minimal. I'm hesitant to fully attribute it to the concoction, but you never know.

During the party, around 10:30 pm, I heard a truck coming down the back lane, sounding very much like the malathion truck. Never has it come that early before; I've only seen or heard it after midnight. But on the one night in the past decade that we've had an outdoor party of this magnitude, it came at 10:30. When the driver saw our yard full of people, it shut off the sprayer as it passed by, but the smell of malathion descended over us. That was lovely. The worst part is that as soon as the truck passed by, the mosquitos came out with a vengeance. I later heard that that is in fact what happens when malathion is sprayed - the mosquitos go wild and then die. So nice that it happened during our party.

But we just held our breath and kept eating the poison-covered food while we swatted mosquitos. A fire was built and Chloe's friends made smores and sat around the flames til almost midnight.

It was such a fun evening. I had so much help: my sister delivered a van-full of chairs, table, decorations (see burning bush above), and more, including delicious caprese salad skewers. Kristin came home from her cabin vacation just to help decorate and attend the party. My friend Rachel made yummy white chocolate covered strawberries and let me borrow all her fancy dishes. Jim & Sabrina lent us a bunch of things from a ladder ball game to a drink dispenser. My parents lent us stuff and my mom cleaned up in the kitchen. We borrowed a ton of stuff from the neighbours - from chairs to extension cords to wine glasses. I've probably forgotten someone, but everyone was so willing to help and I appreciated it so much. Then there were the guests … people made time in their busy schedules to come, including several who had to drive an hour or more to get here. Even Siobhan came from Vancouver. Okay, she was out here anyway, but still. There are many people who have had a huge impact on Chloe's life and it was so awesome to have them come and celebrate with us. Chloe got such lovely gifts, which were not expected but very much appreciated. Thanks everyone - you're the best!

Wednesday arrived and I bit off more than I could chew. I went strawberry picking with Darla since I was worried it would be my only chance to go. The picking was amazing and we filled nine baskets pretty quickly. Then I zipped home to shower and get ready, took Chloe to get her hair and makeup done, then home to get dressed. I posted some of these on instagram already, but here they are again.

Tia sacrificed her lunch hour to do Chloe's makeup. She did a fantastic job.

A few quick pics - I regret not taking more.

And then her chauffeur arrive to pick her up. A huge shout-out to my brother Jim for taking off work early to pick up Chloe and her friends, take them to the park for pictures with their friends, and then drive her to the dinner/dance.

I met them at the park for a few quick pictures before rushing off to Canad Inns to volunteer for grad check-in before the dinner.

Dale joined us for dinner and we had a really nice meal, followed by a few speeches and toasts. 

Then we left Chloe behind and went home to bed so that we could be fresh and ready for when she called to be picked up. Dale was the hero and dragged himself out of bed to pick her up around 2:45. There are no pictures to show what happened after dinner, so we'll all have to leave it to our imaginations. Chloe said she had a great time and you'll have to ask her if you want more information. But apparently what happens at grad, stays at grad.

And that's the end of that! It's been a blast, but we're all ready to relax. We're off to the lake for a week and I can't wait to sit and read and do nothing!


Daniel said...

Awesome report!! I feel like I was there! Wish we could have been. You did an amazing job with all that - the yard and food look wonderful!

Enjoy your much needed relaxation!

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the bug spraying. Poo.

Congrats again to Chloe! We're proud of you too (of course, not in the same way as your mom and dad and family...but you've worked hard and stayed true to yourself and that in itself is an accomplishment).

Grace and peace to you as you move forward.

someone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
someone said...

I thought of you as I leapt out of bed to close the bedroom window when the truck went by! I THOUGHT that it was way earlier than usual! Glad you all lived to tell the tale.

So happy to have been a part of Chloe's grad celebrations!! I never feel OLD when these major milestones happen, just really makes you understand how FAST Time goes and we should be doing the things we want to NOW.

There were a lot of EMPHASIZED words in this comment. ;)

xo Sio