Our grandson Leo's seventh birthday took us to Maryland. It was Star Wars all weekend--the theme of the birthday party, the gifts and finally the long-awaited permission to see the film. According to Leo, only one other boy in his first grade class hadn't seen Star Wars. (It didn't escape Leo that his younger brother would be seeing it at age four, but Leo accepted that.)
Things are different now from how they were when our kids were seven. The accepted wisdom about party-size then was the age of the kid plus one equals the number of guests at a birthday party. There were fifteen children at Leo's.
And usually the parties were at home with possibly a magician. Leo's party was a production at a huge sports complex with games on the soccer field followed by pizza in "Party Room 1" followed by coins for the arcade games. The grandparents were exhausted.
Other memorable weekend events included my reading Animal Magazine crouched next to Grady on the bathroom floor while he pooped. I'm sure I never did that for our kids.
But perhaps the most memorable moment followed Leo's comment when his father asked him to throw away three used tissues Leo had left on the dining room table. Leo looked at his dad and in his most beguiling manner said, "Do I have to do EVERYTHING around here?!"
Leo's mother hates those words when Jeremy says them, and she does not want to hear them from her son. She was not pleased when I told her that "joke" was a staple in Leo's grandfather's repertory.
It's impossible to fight something that has been in the genes for three generations.