Sunday, July 16, 2017

Watching Kids Grow Up Before My Eyes

Some photos don't need a caption. 
We celebrated Sam's birthday almost six months late Thursday with a trip to the Ironpigs in Allentown. Or is it Bethlehem? The team's name is Lehigh Valley, the park hugs the border . . . I guess all that is somewhat irrelevant.

I'll confess that few things make me as anxious as hosting a birthday party for one of my kids. What do the kids want to do? Who does one invite? What budget does one set? What does one do when a participant (the birthday boy or another) gets upset? Let's not forget, also, that the kids are at an age younger than what I'm used to working with. What will the parents of the invitees think about my decisions? Argh. Hosting a birthday party for kids sits right there along presenting staff development to teachers and playing the trombone alone in front of a crowd as a white-knuckle event for me.

Did the night go perfectly? No. Did it go well? I think so. And my son went to bed pretty happy. It was a win. A minor league park is a great place to celebrate a birthday, and we got lucky with some minor league experiences. Six boys came along. Two got balls tossed to them from players. One got to do a half inning of batter announcements. Sam and one other friend got to take water out to umpires at the end of the sixth inning.

Sam awaits his chance to take the field. 

Sam talks with the umpire calling 3rd base. 

Sam's friend and the 1st-base ump. 
But here's where the growing up piece was big: we survived a 1:40 rain delay. One hour and forty minutes! With hardly a complaint from the kids. Just two years ago, or even one, this could have been the occasion for a catastrophic fail of an event. But this assemblage of 11- and 12-year-olds took it in stride, and enjoyed passing the time under rain ponchos (thankfully brought by a dad) as if they were 31- and 32-year-olds.

There's a chance this is the final "birthday party" for Sam. Sherry shares my anxiety over birthday celebrations and we allow a party with friends every other year. When he turns 13, his attitude might change, and something lower key might be in order. If this was our last one, we went out in style.

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