Mará Rose Williams: This graduation party is my celebration, too

Mara Rose Williams with Jordan and Trey
Mara Rose Williams with Jordan and Trey The Kansas City Star

I’m planning my last party for my baby, and it’s stressing me out.

This is the big one, high school graduation. I know from experience that when they graduate college, the last thing kids want is for Mom to plan anything. They want to go out and party with their all-grown-up and sooo-mature college-graduate friends.

And since I have boys I won’t get to plan their weddings.

So this is it. It doesn’t have to be a really big shindig. I mean I’m not going to spend thousands on it. But I do want it to be really nice.

Besides, my family is coming to town, all the way from New York to see him graduate and to help me celebrate the accomplishment. Most of them have never visited me here in Kansas City before.

My sister says don’t worry about the house: We’re not coming to see your house, we are coming to see you. We are just family. Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure. When I’m out of earshot they’ll be saying, “Can you believe … cobwebs in the corners?”

So I’ve been cleaning — carpets and tile and baseboards, the ceilings, you name it. Jordan thinks I’ve lost my mind. It’s all for him, I keep telling him, and he’s like, “How is it for me? I don’t care about the cobwebs.”

And he’s right. If it were up to him he’d just have me toss some burgers on the grill, and he and his friends would hang out for a few hours playing badminton or volleyball in the backyard or watching movies in the basement.

But I want the yard manicured with blooming flowers and tables set with matching tablecloths, napkins and colorful plates. I want the deck decorated with solar lights and balloons and banners that say “Congratulations! Well done!” And I want two grills going — ribs and burgers on one, chicken on the other.

OK, maybe it is more for me than it is for him. Sure, I want to celebrate him. But I guess I also want everyone who knows us to see what an awesome young man he grew into. They know how I worried about him when he was 14 years old and his father — his best friend in the world — died suddenly. I’d worried he would fall apart, or worse, turn bad. He didn’t. So yes, I want my kudos too. Heck I worked hard to get us through it all.

Then there’s this: I’ve been listening to all the other mothers of graduating seniors talking about how they are going all out for their sons and daughters to throw them a master blaster graduation or open house extravaganza, and I don’t want to be half step’n.

Its like he’s 6 or 8 again and I’m back in the birthday party competition arena, looking for the biggest balloons, the tastiest cake, the funniest clown and the bounciest inflatable castle.

I know it’s crazy. But I can’t help myself. If his father were alive he would be trying to rein me in: “Four slabs of ribs are enough. You don’t need eight. Why are you buying giant tents? Are you trying to break the bank?”

My response would be, better to have and not need than to need and not have. Besides, I’m a mom. It’s what we do. And, it’s my last big party for my baby. I love him and I want it to be GREAT!

To reach Mará Rose Williams, call 816-234-4419 or send email to