Last Wednesday marked the first day of the 2017/2018 school year for my kiddos, but it also was significant in that it was a certain little boy’s birthday!
There are traditions in our family that come with it being your birthday. One of which is a day off of school if your birthday falls on a school day. This year the first day of school happened to also be Tyler’s birthday so he got to begin the new school year a day later. Instead of doing school he chose to go to work with Dad.
The day began with us waking Tyler up early with the traditional cupcake and birthday song.
He then prepared to go to work with Daddy. He had a date that day that he was looking forward to. Mimi Joy invited him out for a birthday lunch and a shopping trip to pick out his birthday gift. Since Toby is currently working at Joy’s house it all worked out perfectly. Tyler got his day with Dad and also his birthday date with Mimi… and I got 8 hours with just the big kids.
It really was a gift for me as well.
For the first time in a long time I didn’t have to actively parent. I was able to get some tasks done and prepare for the upcoming school year with no interruptions. The house was so still and silent with Molly and Rusty anxiously engaged in their studies and everyone else out of the house.
It gave me the opportunity to just be.
To hear myself think.
To be creative.
To hear the whisperings of the Spirit…
all of which have been a struggle amid the escalation that has become the new “normal” in our home.
For the first time in months I felt myself exhale. Tyler was having a wonderful birthday with Mimi Joy and Daddy, Ozzie was in a safe place, and I could just focus on the big kids and my own needs. It was a God-orchestrated respite…one that would prove to be all the more essential when hit with new trials in the days that followed.
While Tyler was away I was able to prepared for his celebration that evening. We were blessed that both girls would be able to be home for Tyler’s birthday. No one had work…a rare occurrence nowadays…so we were able to plan for a family celebration.
Having just seen “The Emoji Movie,” Tyler requested an Emoji themed birthday celebration.
Being an 11 year old boy with a love for inappropriately funny bathroom humor, we indulged him with poop emoji cupcakes.
He was thrilled, so the lowering of all my parenting standards was worth it.
Tyler’s request for his birthday was that we all go to an arcade and play games together. This activity combines all the things Tyler loves most: games, competition, and time with family. We decided that since Toby was already working in Cranberry, we would meet up at Fun Fore All. I went online and found coupons for $5.00 of free tokens with the purchase of $10.00 and printed them out.
We met up with Toby and Tyler in Cranberry and had a fun evening of playing arcade games.
Then we returned home for the birthday celebration.
The kids all had gifts they had purchased/recycled for Tyler. Each were excited with the gift they found and were eager to give their gift to Tyler.
Rusty gave Tyler some Minecraft figurines and a yoga ball:
Molly gave Tyler a “Just Dance” Wii game:
And Grace bought Tyler a game that she played at a recent Young Men/ Young Women activity called, “Lightning Reaction Reloaded.”
In this game each player is racing other players to have the fastest reflexes. Four players each take hold of game handle and watch as the light in the middle of the game board blinks red, all while playing spooky music. When the light turns green you must press the button on your handle as fast as you can, trying not to be the last one to click your button. If you are the last player to click in then an electric current passes through your handle giving you a shock.
It is one of those games that cause my blood pressure to rise as I am overcome with anxious anticipation while playing, but for Tyler it is everything he thrives with: competition, high stakes, elevated adrenaline, and quick reflexes.
The game was a hit!
Tyler’s gift from Mom and Dad was the one item on his birthday wish list: light up shoes.
He has been asking for light up shoes for a year and was thrilled when he received them for his birthday.
We ended our celebration with poop emoji cupcakes.
Happy birthday, Tyler! We love you bunches!!