1. Spend eight months planning the banquet, down to every minute detail while sipping cocktails on the front porch or around your dining room table with a small group of women who will come to be some of your best friends.
2. In the weeks leading up to the banquet, panic a little bit when eleven out of twenty-nine senior parents still haven't turned in their information and photos for the slideshow, nor have they RSVP'd for the event, leaving you with a vague estimate of how many people to expect, which, obviously impacts your ability to order the appropriate amount of meat, to arrange for the correct number of tables and chairs, and to feel comfortable knowing that every senior will be adequately highlighted and honored. Sip more cocktails.
3. On the day of the event, spend three hours shopping for the last-minute items needed for the banquet, including the flowers that you will need for your own table. Drop all three cart-loads of groceries off at the venue and race home to arrange your flowers, gather your other decorations, and head back to the school, where you will spend the next nine hours.
4. Hours 1-4 will consist of setting up tables, draping them with linens, blowing up balloons for the stationary balloon arch, waiting for your husband to arrive with the helium tank for the floating balloon arches, supervising said husband as he blows up the balloons for the floating arches, taking care to minimize the amount of helium that he inhales so he can squawk at your fellow Booster moms in a temporary falsetto, and directing parents to their assigned tables.
5. Hour 5 will consist of a frantic scramble to get the slideshow working, because, although it worked perfectly the night before, gremlins have clearly been at work, screwing up the timing and jacking with the sound system. This will also be the hour in which you realize that your own table is not yet fully decorated; a second frantic scramble will ensue.
6. Hours 6-8 will feature the culmination of everything you have planned, plotted, stressed over, and executed; a banquet fit for the twenty-nine senior athletes for whom it was designed to honor. There will be tears, and laughter, and if you are especially blessed, a moment when you and the husband are taken completely by surprise by being honored as the Volunteers of the Year by school administration (yeah, that happened; I'm still stunned).
7. Hour 9 will focus on clean-up, which, as everyone knows, is the least favorite part of the evening, but, if you are very lucky, you will have twenty-nine well-trained senior athletes who pitch in without being asked, making quick work of dismantling everything that took five hours to set up.
8. Congregate with your fellow Booster Moms for what will probably be your final group photo.
9. Try not to cry.
Congratulations! You have pulled off an epic event that will go down in the record books as the best senior sports banquet, ever. Well, at least as far as you're concerned, anyway.