Today my oldest son (Max) turned 5. It seems like he has been 5 for a while…but that may be due to the fact that he’s been reminding us of his birthday since Halloween. He was keenly aware that Thanksgiving came after Halloween, then Christmas, then New Year’s, then his birthday. He even asked if we could celebrate his birthday at his cousin’s birthday in December since it was almost his birthday too. On January 1 he announced it was his birthday month and asked if we could have fireworks every day. I explained it was my birthday year which apparently wasn’t very funny judging by the look on his face. While understanding of the fact that we couldn’t celebrate EVERY day in January, he was slightly saddened and requested we use the Christmas advent calendar to countdown the days till his birthday. That seemed okay…and here we are: January 26.
He has been very patient. As patient as an “almost 5-year old” can be. So we have been celebrating for 5 days and it has been hysterically awesome and exhausting.
DAY 1 (Friday) We got the ball rolling with his grandparents driving into town and partying at our house. The boys are always so excited to see them and love showing them all the books they want them to read. My wife Kate and I are always excited to have another set of adults to help with them and then after they go to bed the bourbon and wine flows freely! Uncle Mark is a fan of not having to babysit. Having outgrown his old Wichita State Shocker Basketball jersey I surprised him with a new jersey, hat, and sweatshirt which I think he slept in that night. Kate and I revealed that tomorrow he’d be going to the game and sitting with Dada and both his grandpas. This was greeted with insane dancing and excitement that roughly translates to “Hell yes!!!”
DAY 2 (Saturday) The guys took Max out for lunch, ice cream, and sodas before the game and then watched the Shocks thump Bradley. Max always wears his “headphones” which are sound mufflers when we go somewhere loud. He begs for them if there are fireworks. A few minutes into the game he took them off and handed them to me. “You can give those to Dodge, I’m 5 now and I don’t think I need them anymore.” Well alright then.
After the game Max got to go into the locker room and help lead the team in song and high-five all the players. He even got to meet his idol Fred VanVleet who gave him a big birthday hug, snapped a few photos with him, and signed his jersey. Awesomeness overload!
Max even got to snap a few photos with Coach Gregg Marshall on the court!
After the game we went to Max’s favorite restaurant, Stearman’s in Benton, KS. Its attached to the small airport and he likes to watch the planes takeoff and land. He also likes all the plane parts and model planes inside. Grandpa liked all of this too. I’m not sure who had more fun…maybe Grandpa. Max was pretty exhausted by that point and started to fall asleep half way through the first book at bedtime. Hang on buddy…Day 3 is gonna blow your mind.
DAY 3 (Sunday) Was the day he had been planning and asking for since last year. Max wanted to go cosmic bowling at The Alley. They put the bumpers up, dropped the lights, turned on the disco music, we filled them full of sugar, and insanity ensued. Bowling turned into less of knocking down the pins, and more into who could roll the ball in the funniest way or hit the bumpers the most.
The Alley also has video games and indoor go-carts. We piled into the carts for a race with all Max’s birthday buddies and off we went! Max was really upset that we were in 3rd place so Dada spun Isaac’s mom out and passed Kellen’s mom on the straight away before lapping Liam’s dad before the pits. This made Max happy…and Dada too.
He got exactly what he wanted for his birthday and slept like a hibernating bear that afternoon before partying with all grandparents, parents and Uncle Mark that night. Pretty epic Sunday!
DAY 4 (Monday) It was back to reality as Kate and I had to work and Max and Dodge went to school. However, he was crowned the Birthday Boy at school by his classmates and surprised with cupcakes, songs, and birthday games. Its good to be king! He told me all about it at the dinner table that night where we played his new Star Wars board game.
DAY 5 (Tuesday) The actual day. Today. Max is finally 5…and with everything we’ve done leading up to today we sheepishly let the day begin like any other as if nothing were going on. Per tradition, I told Max the story of his birth the night before (which is a very different story than what we tell adults or doctors). The short story is, it was the day Mommy and Daddy met Max in person for the first time and we became a family. There are songs, there are cuddles, there are hugs, and I get teary every time…I’m just an old softy who blubbers anytime I think about how lucky I am to be “dad” to these boys.
Dammit! Tearing up now! Keep it together Ryan.
Tonight I will leave work early, Dodge will stay home with a sitter, and Kate and I will take Max to the movie theater. He won’t know what we are going to see but he’ll figure it out pretty fast. Max is going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I can only assume this will be greeted with the same happy dance he did on Friday. He has watched all 6 previous movies and in my opinion proved he’s a real fan when he explained that Hoth was his favorite planet and therefore Empire Strikes Back was the best movie. He also leaned over to me during Revenge of the Sith and said, “There’s a lot of these love scenes and not a lot of action.” Agreed Mr. Max…agreed. This is how Hayden Christensen’s acting career fizzled out…Jumper just sealed the deal. Anyhow, Max is a superfan of Star Wars and honestly with as much marketing and merchandising as Disney has done I don’t know what kid isn’t? Seriously…kudos Disney. Almost EVERY gift Max got this year was Star Wars themed. Even the birthday cards. He even got a Darth Vader costume and lightsabers.
…and that’s how you do 5 days of birthday celebration for a kid turning 5. All that’s left to do is measure how tall he is (he’s a giant) and listen to him ask how many days till he turns 6. Easy buddy…enjoy 5 first, 6 will be here before you know it. Real school, more independence, more rules, and your brother hopefully emerging from the terrible three’s. Oh please let Dodge emerge. Max is proof they do.
Cheers! Here’s to another year!
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