About a month ago I blogged about a school play I went to see, and how fabulous it was. My friend’s seven year old grand nephew, “G”, was in it. The kids were just TOO cute. But what had also struck me was how involved the mom’s were. My friend’s niece, for example, worked on the sets, costumes and make-up.
A hell of a lot of work.
She was tied up with it for months. With a full time job, another kid and a household to run, there’s no way she could have pulled it off without her husband’s cooperation and help.
Last weekend they did it again.
This time it was the baby of the family’s birthday. “E”, who is “G’s” younger brother. He turned four.
A few years ago, busy parents took the birthday boy or girl, and four or five of their friends, to Chuck E. Cheese or McDonald’s for all the junk food they could consume in a few hours.
Perfect for busy, working parents because it meant no fuss, no muss, no cooking or clean-up. Somebody else’s problem.
When I was a kid, there were no fast food emporiums. So my birthday parties were at home. But they were relatively simple affairs. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or assorted little party sandwiches, potato chips, and CAKE. The only thing the kids really wanted was the cake. Oh yeah, and the gifts.
An hour or two and everyone went home. Relatively simple.
So I was completely unprepared for what awaited me at “E’s” birthday bash last weekend.
“E” is into superheroes. So that was the theme of his party. “Okay”, you’re saying to yourselves. “No big deal. The stores are crawling with Batman and Superman and Spider-Man and Iron Man and X-Men stuff. Easy, peasy. One trip to Walmart and you’re done!”
Well, maybe for some parents. But NOT for “E’s” and “G’s”.
This mom CREATED all her own stuff! She made little superhero-themed chinese take-out containers for popcorn. She made super-hero-themed labels for water bottles, which meant she first had to remove the ones already on the bottles. She made little super-hero themed cups (the size of tart shells) for healthy snacks, like baby carrots and grapes and cherries. She made little super-hero themed signs (on sticks) for the hotdogs and also the birthday cake. There were personalized swag bags for all the kids. And by personalized, I mean what was in the bags was specifically chosen for each little guest. Although each bag did have a candy bar with — yes, you guessed it — her own, specially created super-hero themed candy bar wrapper.
I’m weary just from writing about it.
But that’s not all.
Dad was just as involved as she was. He was in charge of the superhero TRAINING all the kids had to go through. Imagine about twelve little four year olds doing push ups and crunches. NEVER have you seen anything more adorable!!! They had to go through memory training exercises and laser beam exercises. And dad MADE a barbell.
Yes, he made it. Don’t know where the pole part came from, but he made the weights for each end out of styrofoam, which he cut into round discs (three per side) and painted black. So our superheroes-in-training also had to lift weights. It’s not easy being a superhero, after all. You have to be in tip-top shape.
And if you’re thinking dad let any of them off easy, think again. He was quite the drill sergeant.
They were at it, huffing and puffing and having a blast for a couple of hours. You can’t imagine how serious they were about these exercises. It was a sight to behold.
But that’s not all, either.
Each superhero graduate received a personalized certificate. But the ‘piece de resistance’ HAD to be the superhero mask and cape each kid was given, personalized with their initials. Tracey, “E” and “G’s” mom is modelling one in the photo. She woke up at about 4:00 a.m. the morning of the party and decided it would be fun so she whipped them up between breakfast and the time all the guests started arriving at around 1:00 p.m.
Yes, there was a birthday cake. A fabulous concoction of chocolate and sugar and superheroes and candles and sparklers. It was the only item she bought. Everything else — and I do mean everything — was made by Tracey and her husband, Nick. The superhero team, who were the true superheroes of the day.
‘Cause when you both have careers, a home, kids, meals to prepare, soccer and T-ball teams to coach, laundry, dusting, dishes, beds to make, gardening and God only knows what else to do everyday, it takes superhuman power to throw your four year old a party he and his buddies and the rest of us will NEVER forget!
May the force STAY with you!!!