Thirty-nine Hours

Thirty-nine hours.

My Dad’s big move from the 5 bedroom house to the 2 bedroom condo is was today, and I’ve been out there all day every day this week packing and organizing what’s going, what’s staying and what’s going to be donated. There is much craziness, especially since Son’s birthday party is on Saturday.

At this point there is nothing done for this party, except for the invitations. I have not finalized the menu, done the goodie bags, decided on a cake, nor gone to Costco, Publix or Walmart.

And I’m not crazed. Which is very surprising, considering that this is the only large party I throw each year, how anal I usually get (just ask my sister-in-law) and how normally 90 percent of what needs to be done would be done by now.

So, tomorrow I will take Son to his swim lesson and afterwards drop him off with my sisters (who came into town to help with the move). Then I will do two weeks worth of errands in one afternoon, start the set-up, bake most of the cakes (I think I’m doing cars, which means several separate cakes). Saturday I’ll have plenty of help from my sisters, which is good since I’ll need at least four hours to decorate the cake(s) and the party starts at two.

I know I don’t have to put new Son-centric labels on the Play-doh or spend six hours on a cake, but I enjoy it, and so does Son.  Last year he and his friend A sat mesmerized by the train cake I made, practically drooling with anticipation.  Son has an unhealthy love of cake, but really, who can blame him?

So, do it I will. And if there are only burgers and dogs and two types of hors d’oeuvre instead of ten, so be it.

And in forty-eight hours I will get to relax and enjoy the memory of my son’s glee as he blows out the candles, sees his friends and plays hard enough to make him fall asleep before his head hits the pillow.

Water Pistols and Mimosas

I love traditions. Holiday traditions like decorating the tree to the soothing sounds of Frank Sinatra, birthday traditions like allowing the birthday person to dictate the day’s menu, wedding traditions like wearing your Mom’s necklace – they all make my heart happy. It’s a sense of being part of something bigger than yourself, being a blip on a timeline that started long ago, instead of being the beginning and the end. It’s knowing that others before me have had the same fun I’m having.

Son is only three and though he’s in preschool it’s only two days a week, and it’s not on a school year calendar. Once he is on a somewhat regular calendar I want to start some new school traditions, and I’m going to use my sister’s traditions as a starting off point…

The other night I was on the phone with her and she told me this great story. Every year on the last day of school the Moms in her neighborhood meet the bus with water pistols in hand and promptly start a water fight with the kids as they are getting off the bus. Everyone then heads over to the pool for a School’s Out! Party, and summer has officially begun.

I just love that. They’ve been doing it since he started school, and it’s become something everyone really looks forward to.

This year, though, my nephew tried to prepare. My sister had said nothing about the last day of school plans, but it seems my nephew remembered on his own. The day before he told my sister, “Mom, I’m just going to ride my bike over to the bus stop and come right back. I don’t want you to worry about it.” When she questioned him further he added, very nonchalantly, “I’m just going for a ride with my water pistol, but if I forget to bring it back I don’t want you to worry about it.”

Uh huh.

Later that night he laid out his clothes for the next day and instead of underwear he laid out a swimsuit. “Don’t worry about that, Mom. I just feel like wearing one. Just forget it.”

The next day the Moms were waiting, the water fight was on and the pool party was a blast! Terrific memories were made for each and every kid, and each and every Mom.

The kids aren’t the only ones to have school traditions. Come fall, when it’s time to go back to school after a long, activity-filled summer, my sister will do her yearly tradition to mark the beginning of the school year.

Every year on the first day of school she walks my nephew to the bus and sees him on his way. Then she goes home, takes out the orange juice and the champagne and waits for the other Moms in the neighborhood to arrive for their very own Back to School party.

Isn’t that great? I love it.

I want to have some of our own traditions, too, and I’m sure they’ll develop naturally.

Traditions help mark special days in our lives. What are some of your favorite traditions – back to school or otherwise?

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