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The perfect graduation party

May 30, 2013

I love to plan parties.  Big or small, I adore them.  Sometimes I get excited over a giant squash grown in our garden, and that alone is a good enough reason to host a party.  I will say that if I had more hours in a day, one of the many businesses I would love to own is party planning one.  Recently, we had a graduation party – well, with one obvious hitch – the graduate would be celebrating in heaven.

We had planned ahead, found the perfect day and sent save the date cards to Reed’s best friends from his class, his cousins, and his favorite teachers.  Originally we had planned a Star Wars Day (May the 4th) gathering, with hopes that the force would be with us. Fingers crossed that Reed’s beloved Minnesota Twins would have a home game.  What’s not to love about merging two of his favorites with all his favorite people!

Apparently the Sith scheduler didn’t check with us as our desired date was for an away game in Ohio.  THAT party was a little out the budget.  Once the game schedule was out, we soon realized that we needed a Plan B. Sadly no light sabers could be used for bats in this one.

We decided to move the party ahead three weeks.  New invitations, lots of correspondence with the Twins organization, phone calls to the rental bus company, and other preparations were in high gear.

Finally, the week came.  This year Minnesota’s weather is getting on my last nerve.  Right before our trip, we had blizzard-like conditions in April. Knowing my tendency to fret, one of Reed’s favorite teachers stopped me and said, “You know it might be cold on Saturday, but we will be warm in our hearts thinking of Reed.”  Everyone needs friends like this, and I am blessed to have them!

Her words completely changed my perspective.  I was so worried a forecasted high in the 30’s meant we would freeze at an outdoor baseball game, and our guests wouldn’t have a good time.  She also reminded me that Reed would have never been daunted by this weather.  He would have just loved being able to go to the ball park.  Truer words were never spoken.  My little ray of sunshine would have told us to just bundle up.

The big day arrived.  I would love to tell you I didn’t fret, but I really wanted the day to be perfect for all of us. After picking up the rental mini-buses, we gathered our family and away we went to collect the rest of the party goers.  We christened each bus with a name: Faith and Love.

Always a teacher, I explained other than a collective love for Reed, it was our faith and love that held this group together.  Even if we had differences among us, TODAY we were going to show the world how faith and love conquer everything.  After the pep talk, we grasped hands, surrounding the flagpole like Reed organized years ago, and prayed for our safety and for us all to do the red-headed Boy Wonder proud.

The trip up was amazing, filled with swapped stories – a family reunion of sorts on wheels.  After a fun trip on the light rail, we arrived at the Twins stadium – all twenty-five of us.  We had great seats – which fortunately turned out to be right next to the built-in heaters.  Just in case, we were bundled from head to toe, looking like the little brother in The Christmas Story movie.

We laughed. We cheered. We ate ball park food, but mostly, we all remembered the boy who brought us all together.  We were an eclectic mix of excitement with a touch of sorrow when upon the megatron appeared: WELCOME REED STEVENS FRIENDS AND FAMILY.  Of all of us, he would have been the most proud of having his name shining brightly for the world to see.

But wasn’t that the point of the day? For those who loved him to carry his spark and light to the rest of the world.  On that day, I sincerely believe we let our little lights shine bright enough that we never felt the cold. Reed’s teacher was right; my heart was warmed – surrounded by such love.


Despite the cold weather, the Twins losing the game, and all the frenetic planning, my perfect day wasn’t elusive after all.  It was right there . . . in the middle of all that love for one young man who brought us all together.

Faith and love: I’m pretty sure we did Jesus and Reed proud at the “perfect” graduation party.

  1. What a perfect way to remember Reed!

    • Nancy – we thought it would be. Even though he never went to Target Field. It felt like he was there with us that day!

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