After graduating with a Ph.D in physics there was, by request, little ceremony from my modest boyfriend. No champagne toast, no party, nothing. Resisting the traditional “Going away” party was his next ploy. In fact, DB stated, ” If it’s a party, I won’t come.”
DB is leaving for Portland, OR to begin work at Intel and has to head out, on his own, before me. Oddly, this is the most time that we will be separated in the past seven years! As we move forward in life, it’s important to others (not just ourselves) to feel closure, and togetherness through the distance that separates us. DB later admitted, “It will be too hard,” to have a party that means it’s the last time in our home with family, last time to enjoy a casual beer with his brother, last time to give his niece his frequent and undivided attention…. last time for many things that are apart of our lives in Denver. We had to change our focus, it is not “Goodbye!” It is a “Send-Off” …another adventure of Team Bassett-Lange. We will all still be together, through love and the spirit of adventure.
Here are the steps I took for my boyfriend of seven years to leave the state, on his own, without a friend, a family member and without his adorable 10 week old puppy feeling adventure, support, love and togetherness.
1. Change the title. Not a “Going Away Party” a “Send Off.”
2. Invite family only, and keep it small/ a dozen or less people.
3. Keep it quiet, low stress, low effort and crank the laughter when the house fills with guests!
4. Request that every family member bring a framed picture instead of gifts or cards. I specified the pics all go in black, wall mounted frames so I could create a wall collage. Also, people appreciated the details and a chance to share a special moment. At first the recipient found this slightly overwhelming, but later carefully went through each shot lovingly. (He also gave me a huge squeeze when he saw them all!)
Special pictures in black frames for gifts instead of money or other “things” we then have to pack-up and move. I can’t wait to collage these on a wall. Hope our landlord allows nails in the wall. Gonna need quite a few square footage!
5. Ask willing family members (every family member in this case!) To bring a favorite dish of DB’s. We all have our comfort foods, and this gathering was ALL of them at once! So tasty, so heart-nourishing and so cheesy! I put some family members in charge of beverages, but forgot the diet coke. Every party requires you to forget something and this was it, sorry!!
These are two brilliant examples of Grandma Frances’ homemade pies. She has unbeatable crust and handpicks the fruit in the summer time and freezes them to make all winter long. Cherry is DB’s favorite and she made a blackberry, served up with a heaping scoop of vanilla. A homemade family favorite!
This is my homemade Stromboli with handmade dough as well. They were a huge hit, and I made them a day before so the flavors were extra delicious! I also set out Real Dill (a local pickle company) pickles, banana peppers and Dijon mustard.
Even the beer was home-brewed, by DB and his brother. The “Sweet Ol’ Brown” (SOB) beer was named after Grandpa George, a very close soul to DB and the acronym is intentional.
6. Tire the puppy out early, then pack the dog away.
This is Ivyn. DB’s 10 week old St. Bernard who was thrilled to get attention from the family. We tried to keep her outside, or crated as puppies have a tendency to get underfoot. Her yelping is pitiful, so we avoided it all together. This is how she passes out.
7. Create a station with ample writing utensils and stationery for everyone to draw or write a note to DB. While he is away and alone in Portland, I will randomly mail each note to him for additional support and love while he is away. (This actually caused DB to be a little teary-eyed, more squeezing and ‘thank you,’ I think it was a hit!) We also left our new Portland address visible for cameras and note-takers.
I was SOO excited that so many people got into the cards for Dain. In fact, between the 12 people present there are 28 cards. I guess it’s still hard to resist a sharpie and a blank canvas. DB will be receiving one every other day, while he is in Portland without us. I hope it keeps him company! Creative ideas included: pictures, jokes, brain teasers, song lyrics, list of pros and cons and more!
8. Finally, emphasize the new opportunities. We showed everyone a map on the big screen of our new home and announced there are 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms! Many family members offered to help move, road trip plans were in the works, dates were being discussed, “berry country” was emphasized and campsite reservations were also pulled up on the big screen. This was exciting and had both of us smiling! We love adventures!!
Homemade Chex Mix, store bought stuff isn’t the same! ** Not Pictured: Crack cheese dip made by DB’s bro and sis-in-law. Unfortunately, the huge crock pot of cheese had quite the spill on the car ride over….they were so kind to run to the store and make more for the guests!! ***
Another fav of DB, made by his mom. I sprinkle Cholula on them and can’t stop myself. The two pans got eaten right up!!
This chocolate layer dessert made by my mom has been in the family forever. The best layer is between the crust and the chocolate pudding, its a sugary cream cheese layer that is sooo good! Goes great with coffee, breakfast anyone!?
9. Keep smiling! Everyone left with a small bag of leftovers and smiled and waved on the way to their cars. All said, it was about a four hour event and the timing seemed appropriate.
Everyone was pleased to have a “Send-Off” and they were the ones who truly brought the togetherness, love, adventure….and the FOOD! It would have never worked without the help and support of every person. We always feel so special and gracious to be a part of the lives of these amazing and unique personalities and today was no different.
The next day, Dain and I made plans to have a special day just the two of us. We ate brunch at delicious “Lucilles” and chatted the whole time about the amazing Cajun food because neither of us have ever been there. We ran a few last minute errands. Comcast provided enough fuel to get the jokes rolling for awhile! We walked with the puppy on the Clear Creek bike trail in Golden and stopped to talk with every person! Ivyn, we are discovering, has a need to receive attention from every person, or she will sit stubbornly until she gets it! I bought a special bracelet, as is my habit to pick up an “Adventure Bracelet” when embarking on a new journey. We cooked dinner together, we watched “Wolf on Wall Street” until there were no more distractions left. Then we poured one more glass and cried, until sleep couldn’t be fought.
Next time she see him, Ivyn will be a big girl!
My new favorite strategy is to ask teens and kids to use my phone to take a picture. I know, they will do better than a lot of nervous adults, and they love the trust. This teen took a great shot!
This morning, DB left headed towards Billings, MT and right when the Arctic Blast arrived. The road conditions read, “slick, black ice, blowing snow.” It wouldn’t be an adventure if one thing didn’t go wrong. No, not the weather, the glass on DB’s truck topper shattered when he tried to close it shut. It was pretty stuffed, but it was mostly due to a poor fitting truck topper. Not to worry, he stuffed a tarp on the back, cleaned up the glass in the street and laughed and hugged me.
At the coffee shop, we browsed magazines for while and with a hot cup of coffee he departed northbound with all the strength and determination he had. Not fifteen minutes later, Ivyn had me giggling in the park as she chased the geese and wiggled towards every person she saw. This send-off, was fitting, complete, happy and sad at times, balanced and personal. Taking the time to process was above all the most important. Now we have four days of beautiful memories to think about when we miss each other!
She will miss him sooo much!!