I had very little sleep last Saturday night, and it was due to my own doing, sort of…

For the past few months I suffered from mixed feelings about my 11-year-old leaving our much-loved elementary school and moving on to middle school. Then I decided that the best way to chase away such mixed feelings is to embrace the occasion, and the best way to embrace the occasion is to throw an extra-special party.

I plotted to invite my 6th grader’s best friends to a sleepover graduation party. And the extra special part of this party is that it’s hosted at a hotel. It will just feel so grown-up!

My 11-year-old must not understand the exclusivity of “best” friends. She handed me a list of 6 best friends.

You have six best friends?! What hotel will want to accommodate 1 adult and 7 kids!?

Unfazed, I went Google-ing. I am a great online researcher. I found a rare 2 bedroom suite at the Hyatt House, about a 20 minute drive from my house.

Hyatt House Hotel

This suite was perfect! 2 bedroom rooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room, and full kitchen. I booked it.

Bedroom with two queen beds

Invitations went out, and indeed best friends, everybody came.

On Saturday, my 11-year-old and I checked in promptly at 3PM. We brought in loads of treats and drinks for the party. I also brought a few games and Arts-and-Crafts kits from my AsianParent.com’s warehouse.

We had two hours to get the room ready before our guests arrived. I immediately unloaded all the drinks, fruits, and ice cream into the refrigerator and put away all the chips and sugary snacks in the kitchen area.

We decorated the living room area with a big gradation banner and balloons.

Graduation Banner and balloon

Then at around 5PM, the excited friends arrived with their overnight bags, and the party began.

At 6:30PM, I walked the 7 chatty girls across the parking lot to Sweet Tomatoes for dinner. Sweet Tomatoes offers a huge buffet-styled salad bar, soup bar, baked goods, and dessert bar. It was the perfect kind of restaurant for this group of kids. They can choose what to put on their own plates. And Sweet Tomatoes gave you that healthy feel, which was much in need for me to feel guiltless about those sugary snacks I have back in the room.

I have known most of these kids for many years now, and they are all indeed good friends, so they all got along, and played well together.

My only instructions to them were “no screaming” and “no yelling”. I am happy to report that I did not have to repeat my instructions to them even once. They are all great kids. But this did not mean that they are peace-loving and quiet kids. In fact, the evening was full of cheerful chattering and happy laughter.

I mostly left them alone, and stayed out of their way. I situated myself in one of the bedrooms and caught up on a great deal of reading.

Reading by myself in one of the bedrooms

I only barged in on them on a few occasions to prepare their snack trays, snap a few pictures, and offer them ice cream from the freezer.

Party trays for the kids

They spent the evening playing games, doing arts and crafts, playing with the ukelele guitars they brought, singing along with their iTunes music, and dancing.

I disappointed them at midnight, when I told them to get into their pj’s and get ready for bed. I felt bad, so I told them that they could still talk on their beds until they fall asleep.

Big mistake! They chatted and giggled until well after 2AM. I was sleeping on the sofa bed in the living room, and their noises kept me awake until they all fell into slumber.

The sleep did not last long. I was awoke by talking and giggling noises before sun-break. It was just after 6AM. I could hear the girls from one of the bedrooms playing a board game on their bed.

They outsmarted me. They conspired to set one of their phones to wake them up at 6AM in order to play. I had not thought to tell them that they could not do that.

Shortly after 8AM, we took the elevator to the main floor for the complimentary breakfast buffet. This hotel served a great hot breakfast. I consider any hotel breakfast is great if their offerings are heavy on protein. The kids love bacon and sausages, and loaded their plates with them, plus pancakes, bread with butter and jam, yogurt, milk and juice. They even have made-to-order omelets. And strong coffee for me. The kids made multiple trips back to the buffet line. They all sat together in one big table, and ate happily for about an hour while I sat eating in a corner by myself by the bar and watched TV.

We went back to our suite, and they played some more. They made beautiful bracelets and sea-shelled necklaces for one another before their parents came to pick them up.

A beautiful bracelet made from one of the Arts & Craft kits

By noon, we checked out of the hotel and drove back home. I felt happy..that I didn’t have to spend hours cleaning up after a party and deal with three loads of laundry.

Best of all, I felt ready for that official 6th grade graduation coming up this week.

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