October has many things going for it, from Columbus Day to Halloween, with many things for my family in between.
This column isn't titled to draw attention to Sweetest Day which was on Oct. 20 but rather to the fact that my firstborn, oldest child, keeper of the flame of writing and attitude, turned 16.
I've been taught that parents want their children to have more and do better in life then what they had experienced as children.
I don't hear of many boys having a sweet 16 party but as a father of three girls I wanted to be able to provide a sweet 16 experience that will take a lot to forget as time marches on. Two years ago I heard a band play, The Dave Brotherton Band, a band that had just recently formed and I liked them, a lot. I approached the band leader, Dave, and asked him if he would be interested in playing at my daughter's sweet 16 party. Financial arrangements were set and then he asked when the party was; I said October of 2012. To his credit, he never forgot and all we needed to do was set a date for the party and he said he and his bandmates would be there with bells on. In the two years in between the handshake and the day his band had grown in popularity to the point that when I'd see him I'd tell him to just make it a three-piece band, but no, he brought the whole band.
We do have one advantage, and that's when you live in a school, you have an auditorium that doubles for a party room and game room.
Hannah's friends and her family members from both sides came and rocked out, ate some pizza and had some homemade cupcakes made by a colleague of mine which were fantastic. Score one for Dad and Danielle for throwing a sweet 16 that won't soon be forgotten.
It was as the party was wrapping up that it really dawned on me that my little girl is growing up.
She's a junior in high school, soon to be driving, and has a boyfriend and a life outside of our family, and in two years will be away at college somewhere. Her party also turned on a light in my head that in a year in a half Briana will be 16, and a year and half (ish) later Bethany will be sixteen. For Briana, I think we'll go to a concert or to the Mall of America; as for Bethany, I have no clue what her interests will be at that time. All I know is that we set a standard with Hannah's party that will have to be matched in some way or another.
Family Matters is a column about what matters, to my family mostly, but can be used for anyone. Memories are made, sometimes they just happen, but other times they are just made.
I have good kids that don't ask for designer clothes or shoes and don't need the latest video game system. They ask for rides to play practice, band practice, games, and other functions they're involved in - memories being made.
The next big party outside of our Christmas and Jimmy Buffett parties will be for my wife Danielle; next fall, she's got a milestone party. You'll have to ask her what one.
Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.