Tag Archives: Birthday

Did I Accidentally Train a Jedi Master?

My son is in Kindergarten. He got to go to his first ‘new-school-friend-birthday party’ today. I got to go as well. Yay for me. There was coffee, pizza and wasps. I enjoyed two thirds of that. This isn’t about me though. Or maybe it is. The party was pretty awesome all things considered, because it was a ‘Star Wars’ themed gathering. My son is pretty into Star Wars (and everything else), and I was too at his age, and I’m old, so I think it’s remarkable that Star Wars is still as relevant today as it was then. Who could have guessed? Neither Farrah Fawcett nor Lee Majors would have guessed that shit.

My son probably became obsessed with Star Wars at the age of 2. He loved Darth Vader. He used to tell me he was my father, like all the time, and he hadn’t even seen the movie, like I have no idea how he knew that line. He was pretty into Stormtroopers as well, but seemed to have no love for Luke Skywalker, and when I was 4, I was all about Luke Skywalker. I was very ‘good over evil’, but it was the 80’s and this is a different time. That said I was a little concerned how drawn to the dark side of the force my son was at such a young age. He seemed a bit like the type that would love to crush the rebellion in one fell swoop (see, I thought it was foul, but I didn’t know whether to spell it foul or fowl, so I googled it, and they were like ‘ACTUALLY…… it was originally FELL’, but that doesn’t sound as good because people I’m sure have been using ‘foul’ for ages now, perhaps in error, and I’m so committed to the line that I’ll just leave it as is, but with an explanation……or I can edit it later, and you’ll never know we had this conversation.) So we would have these light saber duels. He always wanted to do it. They kept getting bigger, and sometimes they weren’t even light sabers, but swords (toy swords of course), or baseball bats, or anything he could pick up and hand me, and he’d say “Let’s fight Daddy”. So we would duel, and he would put on his Darth Vader mask, and hit each other’s swords while he tried to intimidate me by saying all sorts of menacing things in his freaky little bad guy voice. If I had to do it over again I probably should have laid down and played dead at some point so he would think he won, but screw that, man. I’m not letting him win. He thinks he’s just going to defeat me in a battle and then take over the household, no way. So we’ve had a lot of sword fights in the past couple of years. His hand skills are well-developed for a toddler I think.

So today…… a couple of ‘characters’ showed up at this birthday party. The first was a Jedi Master. He was going to train these kids to become Jedi, and had them running and jumping and doing obstacle courses. Parents stood around making awkward conversations with other parents they had just met, but we all nodding in approval like ‘yeah these suckers are gonna sleep tonight!!!’ Then there was light saber training, where each kid would pick up a fake light saber and hit this guy’s light saber a few times. I knew my son would get a kick out of that. Then a guy dressed as Darth Vader came in, and the kids were super excited, and it was a really great kids party I thought. Then….. before the food, but just after Darth Vader had come in, the Jedi Master decides the kids should pit off against one another in light saber battles, and the winner was going to get a prize. Ughhhhh. Before I could get to my son to read him the riot act, he was paired off (with the birthday boy no less) for the first fight. It all happened so fast, like one of those early Mike Tyson fights. Like in the original Star Wars movie, my son was Darth Vader and this kid was the old version of Obi-Wan Kenobi. My son went in on this kid, and I just remember screaming “Not his head, not his head”, and then the kid started crying (maybe more from my screaming than any actual pain… they were fake light sabers), and then my son started crying because his friend was crying….. it was emotional. I was kind of embarrassed, but the birthday boy wasn’t hurt, and moved on pretty quickly, somehow won the prize (which was either always intended for the birthday boy, or given to him out of sympathy.)

It all got smoothed over quickly and we all enjoyed the rest of the party. Soon it was like it never happened, but in the car I could tell my son felt bad about it, and I thought it was a good teaching moment, but then I had to quickly figure out what I wanted the lesson to be. Be gentle?? I guess, but he was ASKED to engage in a light saber battle, and the winner was offered a prize. He tried his hardest to do what he was told to do, and I can’t really fault him for that. I did try to remind him that I’m 5 times his size, so when he hits me with a light saber, it doesn’t do as much damage as when he hits some 40 pound kid, so am I telling him to play down to his competition? Like not try his hardest when competing against someone who isn’t as good (by good I mean specifically at light saber fighting) as him? If he plays sports and he doesn’t try his best because he thinks the other team isn’t good, that will drive me nuts, so I don’t think that’s the lesson. For the purpose of this blog, I’ll say the lesson is ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’, but I don’t know if a 4-year old can grasp that or not, so I just said ‘keep the light saber away from his head next time.’


For My Mom On Her 75th Birthday

Firing up the blog machine for you mom. I wrote lots of sappy blogs about Dad, but none about you. It’s not because I like him better, but he died, and you’re still here. I’ll write sappy blogs about you after you die too, I promise. Maybe one while you can still enjoy it. Couldn’t think of a better way to top up the mediocre gift I’ll be giving you 😉

You brought me into this world (thank you). I was a big baby (sorry). I was the cutest baby of all time (your welcome……and thank you I guess). You were affectionate, so I was affectionate. You had a sunny disposition, so I had a sunny disposition. I wanted to be with you all the time. You were my first best friend. You gave the best hugs, so I gave the best hugs, and now my son gives the best hugs. You made spaghetti a lot because you knew it was my favourite. You made soup a lot even though I hated it and I begged you not to. You never promised me a rose garden. You protected my innocence for as long as you could. You were a softy, even though you’re a tough talker. You made Christmas so much fun even though we kept losing relatives around that time of year, you always kept your head up, and did your best to make that time of year seem magical to your kids. You protected my baseball cards from getting thrown out when Dad tried to impose one of his elaborate punishments. When I was grounded from riding my bike, you would give me the key to get into the shed, as long as I had it put away before Dad got home. Even when you tried to give me beats, you never really hit that hard, so it was usually more funny than anything, except the time you tackled me on the lawn….. that shit was embarrassing. You always encouraged me to do well in school, and when I didn’t, you stopped at nothing to find out why. Hearing tests, psychologists, tudors, the whole package, just to really find out nothing in the end (sorry…. school just wasn’t for me), but you always championed my cause. You taught me to fake it until you make it, and I think I project as a confident adult even if I don’t always feel that way. I used to cry when I was a kid because I felt anxious about growing up. You and Dad always laughed and reassured me that being older is awesome, even though it looked lame as shit to me at the time. I can see that you were right, although most of me still doesn’t want to grow up. When I was a kid, I promised you I would live in a mansion and build you a little house in the backyard (Sorry, it didn’t really go down like that.)

You were a great stay-at-home mom, but when times got tougher, you went back to school and took a job to get the bills paid. I probably acted like a little shit in those days, (but by normal teenager standards, not so bad???). While at school and at work, you managed to start a business creating a day center for elderly people who suffer from Alzheimers disease. You turned it into a fine career, also opening a second location. One of my proudest moments was attending your retirement party, and hearing all the testimonials of how you’d made a difference in so many people’s lives. All of that after you turned 50! I learned that it’s never to late to start doing big things from you.

We’re a lot older now, and a bit crustier, and our dynamic has changed a lot since I was a kid. We’ve both been through so much since then. Now we have new babies to hug and raise up. On your 75th birthday I want you to know that I’ll never forget how loved I felt when I was young, and I credit you and Dad for how incredible I feel my life has been. I’m obviously now making the choices necessary to maintain that, but there’s no way I get to this point without the foundation you laid for me. I hope my son can feel this way as he looks back on his life too. Happy 75th Birthday Mom. You don’t look a day over 29 to me. I’m so glad to be your son. I love you!