We spent Sunday celebrating at our son’s house near Sherwood Park. It was Greg’s suggestion that we do something bigger than just dinner out to mark Hilary’s latest achievement. They have a large house that is very conducive to entertaining large groups. After clearing it with Hilary, we were happy to begin planning.
It’s been a tough slog but our girl has a way of finishing what she starts. While working full-time for a national company she earned a Master of Arts degree in Professional Communication from Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC. This two-year program coincided with the Fort McMurray wildfire and some of the biggest challenges in the Alberta economy to face industry in a very long time. Communicating the company’s plans during a contraction in the economy and amid hundreds of layoffs required a lot of meetings, overtime, and travel. Through it all, she performed beautifully.
As for many of us, Hilary’s path from Point A to Point B isn’t always the shortest or most direct route. Like many eighteen year olds she began her studies at the University of Alberta. By the end of her second year, she had a full-time dream job at the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. To her credit, she didn’t quit school. She took a smaller course load and juggled a demanding fulltime job, school, and the usual young-woman-in-the-city activities. Eventually, she decided that earning her MA would broaden her options and so she set her sights on that goal.
Hence the party. We chose to simplify our lives somewhat by getting most of the meal catered. I ordered a DQ ice cream cake. I brought vases from home and did four different floral arrangements. The most fun was selecting and printing fourteen different grad/success type quotes that I stuck to the wall with painter’s tape. From a goofy one (Thank you Google, Wikipedia, and whoever invented copy and paste) to solemn ones, I loved the search and the selection. When Dr. Seuss says—” You’ve got brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”—you know you’ve hit pay dirt. When Ellen Degeneres says, “Life is like one big Mardi Gras. But instead of showing your boobs, show people your brain, and if they like what they see, you’ll have more beads than you know what to do with.”
The guest list consisted of our smallish family, her godfather and his wife, and just four of her friends. The crowd ranged in age from eighty-four years to about six months. Two of the men are engaged. One of the other guests is a confirmed curmudgeon who rails against anything less than mainstream narrow-mindedness. Luckily, there were no fireworks in this diverse crowd. It helps when the group and space are large enough for several small group discussions on a variety of topics. On Sunday, Trump talk saved the day, more than once, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.