Quote “It started out as a Mardi Gras party!”
You might as well know how it all started, in case you weren’t there. Many of you were there – but maybe I never told you why Lito and I had the first “PartyGras.” There is significance in everything.
After I had my third child, I suffered from severe postpartum depression. And unlike Brooke Shields – I didn’t have friends like Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey to tell me how to live my life. But I did have a great supportive family and amazing friends who gave me sound advice. I was bored at home having not worked at a “real” job for six years. I was doing the mommy and me thing for the third time around and I felt stuck. Of course most of my feelings had more to do with the postpartum than reality – but it is extremely difficult to separate the two at the time.
I needed an outlet, something to look forward to, something creative and fun. Lito and I had attended an event at Julian’s school that had a Mardi Gras theme some time back and we loved it. We talked about having a theme party or going to Mardi Gras in New Orleans ourselves someday. We recalled being at Disneyland when they had a New Orleans style parade and they called it “PartyGras!” We love anything and everything Disney!
So, the goal became having a theme party. Something we can repeat for years that would become our “signature” event. We tried for many years to gather our friends together by having Christmas or New Year’s parties and open houses. But people always had other obligations. We wanted something that our friends would look forward to every year. It was something that I looked forward to every year! I loved thinking about it, planning it and attending it. It wasn’t a kid’s party or a birthday party, or tied to any religious milestone. It was a party just for fun, that anyone could enjoy. Well, almost anyone! PartyGras is for adults only!
Why only adults? Well, that was a no brainer at first! I was surrounded by little kids and babies and everything I did at that point in my life had to do with children and/or other parents. Mommy & Me, tumbling class, Karate class, Indian Guides, preschool, kindergarten, Barney, Blues Clues, diapers, feedings, snack time, nap time . . . And I had been focussed on this stuff (and loving it most of the time) for six years! I needed and wanted to go out and have fun – adult fun, dressing up, having a cocktail in a glass, listening to loud music, singing, dancing, hanging out with friends, staying up late – very late, and letting loose! One liberating thing was being able to say anything without being guarded. In other words – I didn’t have to spell out things I didn’t want my kids to hear me say and I could use some “colorful” expletives, if I wanted!
“If the mountain cannot come to Mohammad, Mohammad will go to the mountain.” Or in this case, vice-versa! If I can’t go clubbing – I will bring the club to my house! Luckily, with a little pleading, Lito agreed! And so it happened. It was a blast! PartyGras! The first one was a Mardi Gras theme. Everyone came dressed in their best Mardi Gras costumes, there was a prize for the most creative. It was a potluck – a Cajun Cooking Contest – with a prize for Lito’s favorites. We knew he would try everything! We had beads for the flashers, lots of drinks and karaoke. That was the entertainment. It was a blast!
I already planned on having one every year and the name of the annual event would always include “PartyGras” (pronounced pardy-graw.) We crowned the couple who put their best foot forward with enthusiasm and zeal as “The King & Queen of PartyGras!” We started in 2001 which made it easy – something not planned – to remember the number of years we have been doing this!
1. Partygras! Cajun Cookoff
2. Partygras ’02: Flamenco/Spanish
3. Partygras III: I dream of Jeanie Pajama Party/60’s Convenience Foods
4. Partygras IV: Club 10532 70’s Party/Fondue
5. PartyArgh V: Pyrate Party/Potluck
6. Partygras VI: Vamp Night/Potluck
7. Partygras ’07: The Godfather/Italian
8. Partygras! 2008: Academy Awards/Hor d’oerves
And the winner is . . . everyone! I hope you enjoyed it. It was by far the best one ever. I’ll remember always your acceptance speech, as you were given the Academy Award for what you are best at – friendship! Everyone had their 45 seconds of fame!
I would like to thank you, my friends, for making these memories the highlights of my life! No amount of medication, exercise, and counseling could bring me out of depression without your support and love!!!