Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

This afternoon I went to Katie's house, one of my oldest and dearest friends. It was a pre-party for her daughter Sophia, turning five. It was a small pre-party, with just her, myself and another friend Lisa. My two kids were there, her 12 year old son Noah and two of his friends (one was Lisa's older son), and another three and four year old - her friend Lisa's son Sam and Noah's little brother Isaac, who had been dropped off by his Mom and Dad to join in the festivities. We were going to make snow cones and do a pinata on the front porch, before heading over to Jump Zone.

Katie said, "When I planned the snow cones this morning, it was warm and sunny." We looked at the snowflakes starting to fall in the front yard.

I replied, "The kids don't care. Any time is good for snow cones. I'll bet they've never had snow cones in the snow."

Indeed they hadn't, and all the kids were in awe, older and younger alike. Alternately eating their snow cones and catching large goose feather snowflakes on their tongues in the front yard, while Katie and I were frantically attempting to hang up the pinata by an electrical extension cord from a hook in the ceiling. It fell when she ran in the house to get the baseball bat, and we were a little relieved that there was a giant hole in the pinata, now necessitating relatively few slugs by the bat on the cold front porch in order for it to regurgitate toys and candy for the kids.

We headed over to Jump Zone, and I offered two extra spots in my car to her son Noah and his friend Craig. I remembered Craig while I was in the bathroom at her house - he came with Noah a year and a half ago over to my house and I dissected cow eyeballs with them. Noah was a little squeamish about the whole thing - he was only ten and preferred to watch - but Craig dove in with both hands and had a ball.

I'm not really comfortable with twelve year old boys - my brothers didn't hit puberty until after I was in college. I was thinking I either scored points with them when my son John requested his favorite Kanye West song or horrified them when I played said Kanye West song for my four year old son and six year old daughter. I said apologetically, "I don't think they really understand the couple of bad words, yet. Maybe I shouldn't play this for him, but I worry he gets too much girlie stuff from his sister's repertoire. I hope your parents won't get mad that I am playing this song for you." Craig said, "This is one of my favorite songs." We listened - John and Sicily sang at the top of their lungs. We watched the giant snowflakes fall on the windshield, on the way to Maumelle. I asked Noah about basketball and his Dad - I remember hanging out with Katie and his Dad before he was even born. I told him that.

After a raucous hour and a half of jumping and sugar, we headed back. I told Katie I would drop the boys off at her house before going home. John was fired up on sugar and adrenaline, and was being crazy and loud in the back seat - even Noah was laughing. I switched CD's to a science one I made for Sicily's birthday last year, and turned it down. Got all the kids going on a round of "No laughing" game - Noah was the referee and tickling John in the backseat, who was happily losing over and over. I was a little surprised when the stoic Craig, now in my front seat, couldn't suppress giggles. It was cracking me up. I thought it was a little overboard for what was going on in the backseat, so I finally asked him, "What is so funny?"

"This song. It is absolutely ridiculous. Who sings it?"

It was Pancreas, by Weird Al Yankovic. I was so used to it, I forgot how funny it was when I first heard it. I replied, "Isn't it great? I'll bet you could find it on YouTube, pretty easily." I told him the name. After it was over, a They Might Be Giants song came on. I forget the name.

"The sun is a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace!"

Craig was laughing out loud, now. "Is this Weird Al, too?" I told him no, and gave him the name of the band. In the backseat, Noah had turned the No Laughing game into the No Talking game, in attempt to gain a little peace and quiet. Every minute or so he announced, "Sicily won again!" I turned around and smiled at her, "Go girl power!"

After the boys spilled out of the car, I watched them find the key and get in the front door safely. I thought of how the wall of pre-teen cool melted over the few hours I spent with them. Their laughter on the way home, filling my car, was the best Valentine's present ever. I worry about when John is a teenager. How I might become uncool, and lose my ability to relate to him. Today made me look forward to it, very much.

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