What a weekend. My wife and I decided to throw a party for our son, Joaquin. His birthday is on the 28th of December and that’s a tough gig. School’s out, people are traveling so it’s always been rough. But my son always just took it in stride.
But this year (his 14th) we decided that we’d do it early – like around the 5th of December.
Now if we could just do the same with Christmas shopping, we’d be so ahead.
We decided to have it at Laser Quest, a popular Birthday party locale and we got invitations ready for him to send out right before Thanksgiving…which he promptly forgot to give out the day before leaving for the Turkey holiday.
Luckily, my Wonder Woman (Liz) purchased some envelopes and while sitting in the bleachers watching our little girl Emmy practice basketball – she and Joaquin hand addressed the 40 invites, placed stamps on them and after practice delivered them to the Post Office.
…yes, you read right. 40 invites.
RSVPs started to trickle in – SUCCESS! So my WW ordered the cake and finalized the party plans.
The party was this past Saturday night 8-10pm with a group of kids Joaquin had grown up with during his years at Blessed Sacrament Catholic school. Next year they would all be attending 9th grade at different high schools.
Oh and I forgot to mention, pretty much all the 8th graders were taking their HSPT (High School Placement Test) that morning. A three hour test administrated at the school of their choice. Rough morning so I’m sure they were ready to blow off some steam and parents were ready to have some “alone time.”
7:30pm rolled around and we showed up to Laser Quest, with an ice-chest, sodas, water, cake and 14 pizzas ready to be delivered. Soon…the Zombies began to arrive.
OMG – it was crazy. Joaquin (we) had close to thirty-four 13 and 14 years olds show up. They were to play two Laser games – the first one began at 8:30pm which gave us time to set up the room with plates, pizza boxes and plenty of napkins…hah…napkins.
A mere twenty minutes later, a buzzer sounded and the party room was filled to capacity with hungry, adrenaline pumped teenagers – all comparing scores, texting and shoving food into their mouths, laughing maniacally about their gameplay. So we gave them soda (sugar) to quench their thirst.
As the audio level increased, I abandoned my wife and left the mosh-pit. Thankfully LIz’s sister, Maggie was there to help (Maggie thank you so much) try and keep order. Armed with a scowl and arms across my chest, I assumed my post near the front door to make sure no one left to go outside and “text”…or anything else. These kids were our responsibility and no one was leaving on my watch.
The next game was in about 30mins so I walked over to get the cards they needed to enter the game. As I collected the cards, I turned to pass them out when the lady announced over the intercom that the next game was to start and the cards were ready.
Suddenly, the room fell silent. As if a spell (or noxious gas) had been released, the teenagers ceased texting and craned their necks in my direction.
Did I hear “Cards” or “Brains?”
In unison, the teenagers began to file out of the party room. Their bodies, having suddenly lost all muscle coordination, struggled to place one foot in front of the other. They moaned as they staggered towards me, bumping into one another as hands outstretched, they desperately tried to grasp the blue cards from my hand. Their gaze transfixed on the recently acquired card, they turned, heads bobbing and formed a line in front of the door for game play, some with half eaten pizza still clinging gruesomely from their mouths. I shuddered and quickly counted my fingers to confirm I still had ten digits.
If Liz had not taken a picture (yes I took the liberty of using Photoshop to get my point across) I would not have believed the sight I had witnessed before me…Zombies, ready to play.
The party ended at 10pm and I, once again took my post as Bouncer at the door, waiting for parents to pick up their zombie kids. The grateful parents would show up, smiling ear-to-ear, thankful for the time they had to themselves. I know what they were thinking,
“Gosh, it felt great to do some shopping without my teen.”
They shouldn’t feel guilty, I’ve had the same thought many times.
We packed up our stuff and headed home, brushing off cake and pizza sauce from our clothing – leaving the staff to contend with pizza, cake and soda in the most uncommon of places in the party room.
At home, Liz and Joaquin opened gift envelopes and I was amazed at how well my son made out. Of course my WW, said, “Joaquin has some very good friends.”
I said, “He made out like a bandit. I wish I had a birthday party like that.” And that’s not even including the gift certificates!
It was a good night for him. He deserved it.
Thanks for letting me share.