Wow, what can I say?!? The graduation party that Doug threw for me was the best party ever! I wish I could repeat that night…..over and over again, like the movie Groundhog Day. He’s talked about this party and planned for it for the past few months. The last month has been loads of preparation, which included deciding the menu, purchasing more chaffing dishes, inviting friends, family and neighbors, installing spring flowers and re-beautifying the lawn after winter, Costco run’s for large quantities of food and supplies, a trip or two to the party store (although most was done via Amazon), laying pine needles in the flower beds, and more. The time, effort and love that he put into this party for me was overwhelming and brings tears to my eyes as I think and write about it now. It was a lot of time and effort, and whenever I’d mention this to him, he’d simply state, “This is no big deal. You’re so worth it! Think of what you’ve achieved..that’s huge”. I’m so blessed and thankful.
The week of graduation was busy with ceremonies and preparing the house for the party. Doug spent the week finishing up little details, and making last minute runs for the remainder of the supplies and food.
On Friday, we woke up early and got the girls off to school. Ted came for half the day to help prep food and cook. I spent the day playing the role of Doug’s lovely assistant, being available for whatever he needed me to do. The aroma that filled the house and the Top Hit’s Radio on Pandora placed all 3 of us in party mode and we had fun!! I had the most fun listening to Doug and Ted debate about how long to grill the chicken breasts. They’ve been best friends for 20+ years, and they’ve cooked many meals and planned many parties together. They’re the best cooks and entertainers I know, and it’s always so fun to watch them play in the kitchen together. I love you two….thanks for the AMAZING food, and the love you poured into it!
On Saturday, Doug had several appointments lined up for me. My first stop that morning was the hair salon to get my hair cut and done. Then I stopped by H&M for a new dress for the party. When I arrived home early afternoon, I was sent to my favorite nail salon to get a pedicure and manicure. He set that up too. I sipped a glass of wine while I enjoyed being pampered. My friends own this beautiful salon downtown, and it’s my favorite place to go for a mani/pedi. We talked together about my graduation and the upcoming party. I had so much fun, and left feeling ready for the night with my new hair, pretty fingernails and toenails, and a cute new white dress. I love you babe!
I had only a few hours to spare before the party, once I arrived home. Doug was in full party mode. The yard looked beautiful with round tables set up and draped with crisp white table cloths topped with red and white rose bouquets (American Red Cross colors), an outdoor sectional that sat in the lawn and a disco ball that hung from the oak tree. Doug’s DJ rig stood tall and ready to entertain, with large speakers set up around it, the drink bar was in place, and the food was warming. By the look of the set up, I could imagine how amazing this night was going to be, and already envisioned my friends and loved ones eating, drinking and dancing. I felt excited and ready. The weather was perfect too. Thank you Dario for spending the day helping Doug prepare for such a special night, and thanks to Ted H. for helping set up the bar, and for bartending. You’re the best.
Around 7pm, the guests started arriving. Our friend Fred owns a cute orange golf cart, so he played shuttle driver, escorting people from their cars parked down the street to our house. Awesome! I couldn’t believe the quantity (and quality) of people that kept coming in! I have amazing friends, sorry to brag. I wish I could have invited every last person I know and love, but between my family, my nursing school friends, neighbors who have helped and supported us along the way, and a few close friends, we had to stop inviting.
I wore a permanent smile on my face. As each guest arrived, I would receive a hug, a “congrats”, and a gift. I was thrilled to see every person that made their way over to me. It was overwhelming. I felt so thankful. People mingled and had pre-dinner drinks and apps. It was so hard to know who to talk with and where to go. I wanted one on one time with each person, and especially those special friends I haven’t seen for a while with the business of school. It was a tease. I feel so honored that all of you came out to celebrate with me. Thank you!!
The night carried on, and soon it was time for dinner.
- Shrimp cocktail with spicy cocktail sauce
- Smoke buffalo chicken wings
- Tuscan white bean dip
- Tomato basil bruschetta
- Braised beef short ribs with portobello mushrooms
- Grilled chicken pesto pasta with pine nuts
- Garlic green beans
- Parmesan risotto
- Roasted potatoes
- Chocolate cake
Everyone kept asking who catered the food, and several people asked me for a business card. Doug should consider a food business on the side. I wish I had taken more pictures, but I was so wrapped up in the moment that I forgot. Thanks to my sisters for grabbing some shots of the night, otherwise I’d have nothing to show off.
I had already decided to wait and open gifts and cards the next day, but my friend Zoe grabbed my wrist and pulled me into the house to open her gift. She stated that she could wait no longer and anxiously placed her gift in my arms. I first opened the card, which was handmade and so perfect! I can’t believe the talent. I’ll have this card framed and placed in my office space.
Then I opened the gift from her and Clayton. They gifted me with a blinged out Littman stethoscope, with my initials etched onto the bell. Zoe is all about the bling, but in a classy way. She is a violinist, who performs with may celebrities and her bow is blinged out. The girls love her bling and comment on her beauty all the time, so she felt I should wear bling too. I LOVE my new stethoscope. Thanks Zoe!! xoxo
After dinner, Doug had everyone gather around the DJ rig and he gave the most beautiful speech. He thanked everyone for coming, for the help we received over the past few years, and for understanding when we weren’t always around. The last few years we’ve had to maintain focus, and say “no” to a lot of people in order to protect our family time, whenever I wasn’t studying or Doug wasn’t running a business. Then he requested all of my nurse friends to join the two of us at the front for a toast, in honor of all we’ve accomplished and to congratulate us for making it through nursing school. Cheers!
Then it was time to turn the music up. The dancing and the party began around 9pm. DJ Doug E C made his way to the stage, and kept everyone more then perfectly entertained. People made requests. I felt powerful knowing DJ Doug E C, because whatever I wanted, he gave me. For example, I felt that Vickie needed to make an appearance on the dance floor, and so he called her out. Then I felt Amy needed to start the limbo, and he made that happen for me. I also wanted to hear Teach Me How to Dougie by Cali Swag District, and he made that happen too. Jeff tore it up on the dance floor, and that allowed others to feel the freedom to tear it up too. We had so much fun. In the midst of all of it, I received several amazing bathroom selfie text messages from my nurse friends and my nursing instructor Kim (who is no longer allowing me to call her “Mrs. Walztoni” but Kim, since we’re colleagues now). Y’all had too much fun in my bathroom. I wish I could post those pics, but I refrain in an effort to maintain the professionalism my nurse friends and instructors must maintain. I will show you this one though.
The party continued. We danced. We enjoyed drinks. We played limbo. We started a conga line…kinda. We watched Jeff dance, and he led us into a performance. DJ Doug E C, Anthony and Rick brought out the best of the best music.
Near the end of our night, Doug played Tiny Dancer by Elton John. That’s our song. I was able to coax him from behind his rig, and we slow danced with the other couples who stuck around. As I clutched onto his body, we danced through the song and I cried. I cried hard, and he held me tighter. The tears were tears of love and thankfulness for not only an amazing night that he threw for me, but the life I get to live with this amazing man, the man of my dreams. Almost 15 years ago we danced to this song on our wedding night, and now we danced together many years later, with a deeper and stronger love then the day we said “I do”. Thank you babe for everything. It was a most amazing night.
Sunday we awoke to a yard that proved our fun night, and loads of gifts and cards.
Thank you everyone for joining me in this celebration. Thank you for the cards, wine and generous gifts. When I opened everything on Sunday, I once again felt overwhelmed with gratitude for the many wonderful people I call family and friends.
I love all of you so much!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! xoxoxo