Memorial Day weekend is once again upon us. And as we have for the past four years, it was time to celebrate the unexpected arrival of Search and Destroy.
Wait, what? “Past four years,” you ask? Yes. That first year wasn’t so much a party as a, “Oh shit, what now?” All following years were celebrated because “Oh shit! We made it!”
Uncle Paul and Aunt Stephanie rolled into town with the boys’ baby cousin on Friday. To kick off the holiday weekend we headed off to the park – scooters and strollers leading the way. Search and Destroy were all too excited to show off their local stomping grounds.
The park is right next to the elementary school – the site of the big kid kindergarten where the birthday boys are headed this coming fall. (Actually this coming summer; school starts in August.) There are three streets we need to cross to reach the hallowed playgrounds.
As we attempted to ford the second crossing, Destroy tripped over his Red Flyer scooter mid-street and went tumbling face first into the street.
With a scraped elbow and smashed knee, our aces weren’t off to a stellar start.
Gramma and Papa joined the family fun times that evening. We decided to brave a fancy family-friendly restaurant for dinner.
You can always tell who are the parents of young children. Meals are not to be enjoyed. They are to be inhaled in a race against meltdown. This particular evening it was grandparents, used to dining with a fine glass of wine while discussing the genius of the progeny skipped a generation; parents of soon-to-be 5-year-olds, twin boys exhausted with excitement and anticipation of the following day’s BIRTHDAY PARTY; and the new parents of one absolutely adorable 7-month-old little girl, who is extremely expressive and communicative yet not yet understandable.
All of the above have the attention span of a drunken goldfish. The fish on my entrée platter never knew what consumed it. We were done in five large swallows. The boys and the baby headed outdoors to run amok for a few energetic moments while we settled the bill.
When I got outside, Destroy was in dad’s arms sobbing.
Static rosebush: 3
Flailing muppet: 0
One warm bath, 12 Toy Story themed Band-Aids, and a good night’s sleep helped soothe the sting of the thorn slices. Also the rocket-ship bounce house with slide arrived at 7 a.m.; all thoughts of the previous day’s injuries vanished in an obsessive desire to leap unencumbered in an inflatable castle.
Gramma and Papa had arrived bearing a tetherball setup. Search and Destroy scampered back and forth, debating between smashing one’s brother in the face with a large volleyball secured to a string or tackling said brother within the confines of primary colored blowup plastic.
Alas, a barstool got the best of Destroy, and little man fell from enthusiastic heights. Cheek met concrete. Hey – chicks dig the tough guys right? And what’s a party with out battle stories. Especially a Top Gun/Fire and Rescue party.
My 7-month-old niece simply took in all of her surroundings – the chaos of party prep, the decorations and the new people all providing a cacophony of wide-eye inducing stimulation.
Then the cake arrived. All tiny peeps began salivating over a sugar-coated high soon to come. (Even the baby. I’m pretty sure sugar addictions are hard-wired into our genes.)
“Happy birthday!” I said to my sons. “How old are you now?”
“I’m 4, mom,” they replied as though I was a complete idiot. “We can’t be 5 until our friends come and sing Happy Birthday and we eat cake.”
Finally the clock struck noon (or at least the microwave digital numbers blinked over to 12:00). The masses began to arrive.
This year we invited the kids’ entire class. The big boys are now old enough that they have good friends at school. Being the ever-involved parent that I am, I have no idea who their parents are. So I welcomed anyone looking ready to celebrate – hoping the muppets had an idea of who these people entering my home were…
But what’s a celebratory retelling of Top Gun without the love story.
Search’s girlfriend Cinderella arrived in full princess ball regalia costume.
“Search likes Cinderella so I had to wear my dress. We play Cinderella together at school. Search is Prince Charming.”
The two faced off in a rousing game of tetherball (clearly the preschool set version of hot summer sand beach volleyball). When it got rough, with one participant taking a shot in the nose, Search quickly deflected the potential disaster. “Want to see my baby?!”
Shortly thereafter one adorable 7-month-old niece was slightly hysterical when awakened from her nap to find two preschoolers in full costume standing over her.
Chaos was in full control. I briefly wondered if I should be concerned by the amount of toy light sabers and power tools occupying the bounce house. Also, how quickly would one of those things deflate?
While Destroy led the charge against inflatable integrity, Search suddenly brushed passed me.“Hi Mommy. I’m going to show Cinderella my room now.” I heard a door slam shut.
Which potential scandal to investigate first? I took the easy way out. I ended up consoling two birthday boys very concerned that the tune of Happy Birthday served up with a slice of age-5-turning cake meant that pre-K was over. “I don’t want to go to Kindergarten tomorrow though,” they called.
They grow up so fast.
Hey Search and Destroy – you can be my wingmen anytime.