The Boy at Summer’s End

We went to a birthday party today. Our good friends, Paul and Heather, have an awesome son who is turning five this week. The party was well-attended by numerous adults and their offspring, because everyone loves Paul and Heather and the boy who isn’t quite five yet and doesn’t mind telling you so. The Justice League watched over the proceedings.

There was much splashing in the pool, every pool toy available was tossed in from the bin. The children all played together, from the smallest to the tallest, and some of the adults got in on the fun, too. It was grand.

Morrigan was afraid of the slide that would shoot you into the water. The first time she tried to go up Tom was there behind her, but she got scared when she got too close to the top and too far away from the ground. So I went and stood in front of the ladder, providing encouragement and the feeling of safety that comes from being able to see your parent, while Tom stayed behind and guided her, so she would know strong hands were there to catch her if need be. Twice she went up the ladder in this fashion and went WOOSH! down the slide. Everyone clapped and made her feel like a supahstah. I was on my way to the house with a handful of used paper plates and crumpled up napkins, the detritus of merry-making, when she called to me, “Mom! Watch! I’m going to do it by myself!”

“Ok. I’m watching! Let me see you do it.” And she did, over and over again after that. Whoosh! Splash! She would come up with her hands in the air, flashing everyone the double Victory sign and a megawatt smile.

There was time for gazing at the seven or eight horses who live on the adjoining property, and gawking at the tortoise who wasn’t quite used to being a spectacle for so many little faces. He hid amongst the low-hanging branches of a tree that provides him with shade from the hot Arizona sun, so we left him to his quiet corner, happy for the glimpse we were able to catch.

There was a piñata and a foam bat with which to hit it. This was good, because every kid there got to swing at it twice–once with a blindfold and once without. My girl is a fierce piñata fighter. Finally, one of the boys managed to knock it from the rope, and it was all over after that. One of the adults widened the hole that had been made and Up! went the contents! The brightly colored wrappers glinted in the sun for a moment before plummeting back to earth for eager young hands to snatch right back up and pop into goodie bags.

It was time for cupcakes. Everyone trooped back to the house and gathered round the dining room table. Many musicians and fine singers were on hand to provide a rousing chorus of The Happy Birthday Song, and the boy who is not quite five blew out all his candles on the first go. The cupcakes were delicious.

Birthday Boy opened his presents. He got lots and lots of Legos, because he loves Legos. He showed them to me one by one. “I never had this one before! Or this one, or this one, or this one! Look! See? He has a laser!”

Soon it was time for the guests to head back home to their separate abodes. There were lots of hugs to go around. Paul drove us home. And now, as we all drag our tired bodies to our beds, we feel that our summer is complete, and we are grateful for friends and little boys who are almost–but not quite!–five years old.

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5 thoughts on “The Boy at Summer’s End

  1. I love those days when everyone is happy and everything seems to go right. They’re too rare for my taste but when they do come along, they help me cope way better during the not-so-good days.

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