Sometimes it takes another person to snap you out of a blind panic – like Hicks did for Ripley in Aliens.

In less than 12 hours, I begin my 5+ day shift as hostess for a weekend of festivities surrounding my daughter’s high school graduation. The climax of this weekend is the graduation after party we are hosting at our house. This is the event that is giving me grey hairs, nightmares and indigestion.

What do I serve? Do I buy it catered or make it myself? How much should I put on the grill? Will the weather be good? Do those foods go together? Am I making too many starches? Where am I going to find the time to get good bread? That has to be bought the day before or it will be stale. Do we have enough chairs? Do I need to buy more steak knives? Wait, am I serving steak?

This is the state my sister found me in when she called the other day. I was in an absolute frenzy because I was running out of time and didn’t have a menu for the party. This is because I don’t do a whole lot of hosting – it’s waaaaay outside my wheelhouse. In fact, I’m not all that sure I’m even on the boat. But I’ve got more than 15 people coming to my house on Saturday afternoon and I have to serve them something.

Her advice? Nobody is going to care what we eat. The fun of the day is celebrating my daughter’s graduation, and hanging out with friends and family. She reminded me that at her daughter’s graduation we had simple fare – fried chicken, salads, mac & cheese – and we had a blast.

It was a revelation, and a attitude adjuster for me. I mean, we are all family – nobody is going to care if the foods don’t exactly pair up perfectly, or God forbid, doesn’t taste great. I remember serving my sister and her family a london broil that tasted like wet band-aids thanks to a really bad marinade recipe I got off the internet. Nobody cared. We laughed it off and drank more beer.

Plus, my other sister is a kitchen whiz (actually they both are) and she arrives today and is prepared to help me in any way she can. That’s good because I need to make a cheesecake, macaroni salad, cucumber salad, and get the lamb marinating.

I hope it doesn’t taste like wet band aids.