Kelan's Birthday Party

Kelan is nine. He and cousin Charlie enter fourth grade just weeks from now. They are two sweet boys. Two days ago, Kelan celebrated his birthday in Greenwood Park, just blocks from his house, with sixteen friends and assorted parents, his Mameau and his sister Lauren and cousin Lulu Bell. Sounds great. And it was. But I have to ask - is Mercury in retrograde? Is the moon full?
All three of my daughters are super organized when planning events. Jeanne and I drove a packed car to the park and then carried bottled water, gluten free birthday cupcakes, a plastic tablecloth, biodegradable plates, bags of carrots and snow peas for snacks, paper towels and recycling trash bags to a picnic table which we dragged under a big cedar tree.
Jeanne had reserved the services of The Game Matrix which oversees Boffer Sword Parties. A Boffer Sword Party is a staged medieval battle with axes, javelins, maces, spears and shields all made of foam. Kids get instruction and game rules before at least an hour's worth of shouting and charging around a field with foam weapons. Apparently, Charlie Bean had such a splendid Boffer Sword Party for his birthday last April and Kelan and his mom Jeanne followed suit.
With miscues and misadventures. First of all, it rained, that soft Seattle rain. "It hasn't rained all summer," Jeanne lamented as she moved the plastic picnic tablecloth over the bags of aforementioned party goods. We'd captured the picnic table an hour before 4:00 p.m. when the party was to officially began. We two sat under the huge cedar tree and were relatively untouched by the rain. Seattle rain is not like Houston's quick and violent downpours.
The Boffer Sword Party man was to arrive about 3:45 to unload and lay out those foam swords and javelins. We started to worry about the Boffer man as kids began to arrive with their parents at 4:00. At least, the rain stopped as the kids gathered and wondered what was to happen next. Well, the Boffer Sword Party van pulled up at 4:40 p.m. Terrible traffic from Tacoma. Our games began at 5:00 after a presentation of the rules of encounter.
Lauren was in the thick of it as the only girl. Cousin Lulu opted out after her suggestion to the Boffer man of an additional option to playing dead was not well received. She and I created a fairy house instead, with fern and leaves and assorted park flowers. She also made a house with the extra shields. Good for her.
The teams played hard and long, exchanging weapons frequently. At 5:45, two gluten free pizzas arrived. By 6:00 p.m., Zeek's pizzas were to arrive. They did not arrive. And so at 6:10, father Dan was dispatched to Zeek's on foot to check on the order. The party goers gathered round the picnic table and instead of eating pizza, they sang happy birthday to Kelan and ate chocolate cupcakes. Dessert first.
After the cupcakes father Dan was seen across the field with pizza boxes. Zeek's pizza had been preordered and prepaid by my organized daughter Jeanne. But somehow the order was 'on hold'. Another mystery and more wonder about Mercury in retrograde and full moons. Dan had to wait for Zeek's to make the pizzas and then he delivered them to the park.  Parents began to arrive for pick-up as pizza was served.
And then there were the presents to be opened, an activity that interested all the kids. Much shouting of thanks as Jeanne tried to keep a list of 'who gave what' so thank you notes could be written.
And so at last, sated with swords and pizza and the unwrapping of presents, the party goers left tired and sweaty with their parents and we packed up mountains of stuff.  We loaded the car which I drove home as the rest of the family walked home.
All's well that ends well. Except when I opened the front door I heard a trapped birded banging against the living room window. Flew in an open transom window and couldn't find a way out. I imagined a great 'bird saving', but we were spared. The bird located the transom and flew away before presents filled the floor by the front door.
Happy ninth birthday, Kelan. Sweet boy. We are all worn out.

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