Do you ever hear laughter and conversation – lively parties taking place over at the neighbors, and you wish you could just “peek” over the fence, or maybe be a fly on the table to see what’s going on?

If only you could have peeked into our backyard five years ago! I think you would have liked what you saw.

On that warm, starry night, three families got together for an evening of fun and celebration. What we had in common was that our 5th grade children were moving on to new schools for 6th grade. Two were heading to the same school, and one to another.

As we threw this “mini graduation” party together at the last minute, in our backyard, we moms divided up the meal by bringing separate courses and a graduation cake. The adults had a sit-down dinner, and the kids ate in a casual setting. Outdoor entertaining is so easy!

The music played, conversation flowed, and young kids ran and played under fairy patio lights. The night had “family” written all over it – even though none of us were related.

Those three families are adventurous and were willing to try something new. Ready for “last minute,” knowing that things did not have to be perfect – but mostly – wanting to make a memory. Each child involved in the mini graduation was the oldest child in their family, and they had gone to school together since 1st grade.

What was the memory from that night that we all went away with?

Was it the table setting, dinner served, the way our yard looked, or freshly-mopped floors? The graduation gowns and hats that we found at the last minute? No!

For me, the memory that I walked away with was when each dad got up and shared about his child. It was heartwarming and made each kid feel 6 feet tall. They not only knew they were loved, but they were in an intimate setting with families who cared about them.

Five years later, I can’t speak for the other families, but this night was chalked up in my mind as another special way of making a memory for the family. I consider these families “Balcony Families” – families getting together and cheering each other’s children on – supporting them and loving and wanting the best for them.

You know well that our kids could feel the love and will not forget the memory of this mini celebration!

(Photos taken at our old house!)