I need a dose of invitational awareness. Not situational awareness, mind you, though that would be helpful, too.

I’m talking about invitations to showers, weddings, reunions, birthday parties, and graduations.

A graduation invitation revealed my lack of awareness this week, in a most spectacular way. It was to a high school reception for a fine young man from a wonderful family.

He was graduating from the same high school the Schlueterville sons attended, the youngest of whom is celebrating a 10-year reunion in June.

I’ve been out of the high school game for a while, which may be important to note.

This high school has always held graduation on Mother’s Day. You could mark your calendar with permanent red ink and make a safe bet in Las Vegas on this fact.

For as long as I can remember, emotional moms have watched their children receive diplomas before hurrying home to serve barbecue beef and potato salad to hungry family and friends. I did it. All my friends did, too. A Mother’s Day graduation ceremony was as certain as a December 25th Christmas.

Well, almost certain it seems.

The invitation adorned my refrigerator for weeks, held there by construction-paper magnets young Schlueterville sons made me for Mother’s Day many moons ago.

“When: 4-8 p.m. immediately following the ceremony,” the handsome card declared. A smiling photo of Fine Young Man from the wonderful family made it an event I couldn’t miss.

Can you guess where this is going?

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day, so after several hours spent walking the Dark Island Trail by Central City, Hunka Burnin’ Hubby and I sped home in time to clean up for Fine Young Man’s reception in Hastings.

(The trail head, I should mention, was next to the Central City High School, where a crowd of happy families gathered to celebrate a Mother’s Day graduation.)

The one thing I’d overlooked on Fine Young Man’s invitation was the date — Sunday, May 19 — which was clearly printed in black ink and legible font.

Sunday, May 19 is one week AFTER Mother’s Day.

Prepare to laugh at my expense. I would if I were you.

Hunka Burnin’ Hubby and I arrived with card in hand. I blame sunburn and dehydration for not noticing the empty parking lot. It had been a very long walk down that Dark Island Trail.

“I’m starving for cake,” was the only thing we mumbled as we marched up the steps.

We knocked on the door, which opened to Fine Young Man’s flummoxed brother, who informed us that we were, yes indeed, seven days early for the main event.

I have never been seven days early for anything. Hunka claims I’ll be late for my own funeral. He’s probably right, though I doubt I’ll care.

Thank goodness for the grace of Wonderful Family, who invited us in just the same. Big laughs were shared by all, and I claimed a tiny victory for delivering Fine Young Man’s first graduation card.

Don’t be jealous, timely reception attendees, only bona fide social misfits can achieve this level of greatness.

On the way home, Hunka and I stopped at the grocery store to buy a cake, since none was had at the reception that wasn’t.

I called it my cake of shame. It was delicious.

So ends my tale on the value of invitational awareness. If anyone invites me to anything from here on out, he/she can be sure I will highlight the date, circle it in red ink, mark it on my calendar, set alerts on my phone, and call numerous friends to remind me of where — and when — I’m expected.

I’m not sure I have the courage to attend Fine Young Man’s actual reception this Sunday. Camping in a remote area where I can ponder my boo-boo sounds like a viable option. There will be shame. I will pack cake.

Congratulations, Fine Young Man and 2019 graduates! ONWARD!

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