Tuesday 29 May 2012

Balloons and Sugar

When we were in Hawaii there was one of those big top tents that you can rent set up at the beach park. There was a big sign that read “HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY” and of course the birthday persons name was there but I just can’t remember it now. There must have been a hundred or more people in and around the tent. I don’t think it is too hard to get people to a party on the beach in Hawaii, even a party for a one year old. More beer for everyone else…right?
I had been at the beach for a while and needed to get something from the car which just happened to be beside the big tent. On the way back, I stopped to ask a couple of tattooed gentlemen why there was such a big party for a one year old. The one guy that didn’t look at me like I was something just scraped from the bottom of a flip-flop, told me that they have a very big celebration on either the first or the fifth birthday and after that it isn’t such a big deal. I asked if this was a typical Hawaiian custom. I could tell that two of the guys were trying to figure out where to bury my body and the “friendly” one gave me the old stink eye and said “Samoan!”

I said “Sorry, what can you expect from an ignorant Canadian? Have a good time.” And I took off to the relative safety of Louise and the beach.

I understand now why the fifth birthday is so important, since Hurricane is celebrating his fifth today. It is the stepping stone to adulthood, well at least to some degree of independence. He will begin to develop friendships that have nothing to do with his parents and he will start to be interested in his own stuff. Oh sure, he is still tied pretty much to mom and dad, but it is a beginning. Sometimes even now, he will spend what I consider to be “MY” time playing video games or even wanting to do things that I don’t want to do. It is inevitable I suppose.

When Arwen asked if I could look after Hurricane for a couple of hours today, I kept the angry Samoans in mind and decided that it should be a special as I could make it. He is having a big “Official” party on the weekend, but that isn’t for a while, and today is the day. I decided that we would have his favourite for supper, spaghetti and meatballs, and his mom was bringing the cake. When his dad dropped him off, I had the floor covered in balloons. That is what you get when you put a retired guy, a compressor and cheap dollar store balloons together for an hour or so. I also made a 3 X 5 banner wishing him a very happy birthday.

Just as soon as Chris left, I stuffed a cookie into his hand and asked him if he would like a Popsicle or a Fudgesicle. He watched a little TV, played a little video game; his poppa made him a really bad balloon doggie and before you knew it his brother and mom pulled up. We had fun playing in the yard where I had put together a tetherball set up and in the garage where we would climb ladders and hit balls hanging from the ceiling. I suppose that in the strictest sense, it is a pretty dangerous game, but pain is the best teacher and for today anyways, we had fun.

You know, there is nothing better than being a kid. There is nothing harder than being a kid as well. We all want nothing but the best for our kids and would do nothing to make them suffer. Unfortunately, life is such that being a kid can mean dealing with broken promises or at least promises that are perceived to be broken. We learn to deal with this as we grow up and come to understand why they were broken.

It is my job as Poppa to try and keep my promises and make being five the best thing that it could possibly be. It is my job to fill the day with balloons and sugar.


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