Daddy’s retirement party is over. Such a relief.

What went well?

The food was delicious & we didn’t run out. The parking was non-problematic. The decorations were exactly as I pictured them. The weather was lovely. People came — not 100, not 80, but a good solid 60. We were actually, for the first time ever, ready ahead of time & not racing around like crazies at the last minute.

What was not so good?

The “program” during the meal. Ya’ll, it was bad. So wretchedly awkward that I wanted to go crawl under the nearest shrub. My father is not a public speaker — NOT. And he invited this financial counselor woman to come (she was one of his verbal invitations), & then turned the party over to her. For at least 10 minutes, this woman spouted out retirement statistics & financial data. I honestly don’t even know exactly what she said because I tuned her out — I shut my ears & busied myself with tasks, hoping that it would be over soon. It was so bad. SO bad. Before the financial seminar, everybody was laughing & eating & having a respectably good time. After the financial seminar, they could not leave fast enough. Our guests were literally sprinting for the door. My father killed his own party.

At this point, I was just glad to see them go. Not that they weren’t nice people — they were. And not that I didn’t want them to stay a play a round or two of cornhole — I did. But the mass exodus, as embarrassing as it was, allowed me to dial it down a notch & chill out a bit. A few more of Daddy’s friends arrived after the disastrous dinner entertainment, & they hung around for a long time & seemed to be enjoying themselves… pretty much proof that it twas the speeches that killed the party.

Afterward, Jennifer, Sue, Tom, Bobby, & I were riding that high… you know the one? Where you’ve planned & prepared & stressed over something, & then it’s over, & you’re so relieved you’re giddy? Yep, that was us. And then Daddy walked in, & said “stupid lazy Michelin people, said they were gonna come & they didn’t.” I just felt… well, deflated. Like someone had stuck a small hole in my balloon, & started a slow leak.

I’m working through it though — after all, I know not to base my sense of accomplishment or self-esteem on my father’s feedback. It’s disappointing that Daddy didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as I wanted him to. But it was a success, damn it. Everything that I had control over went perfectly. There’s nothing more I could have done, & I know this. And really, what more can I ask for?

Here’s a few of my favorite pics: