Back in January, my little friend Christian turned 4. He decided to have his birthday party at a roller skating rink. I have not been to a rink, or roller skating, in, oh, maybe 20 years.
I’m quite positive, in fact, that I never went again after my sister fell while roller skating and broke her front tooth and it turned black and died. She was, what, maybe 11 when that happened? Not that it was particularly traumatic for ME, but if she was 11, I would have been 15 and just out of the skating age.
Christian, being a wonderful young friend, invited Simon to come to his birthday party. Simon is pretty hesitant about trying new things. Two months before, I drove past the rink and pointed it out to him and talked about roller skating. We discussed what it was like to have wheels on your feet (like a racecar?) and how there is a big rink and you get to roll around it (is it like a race? Do they line you up and tell you when to go and you get to win?) Several times we drove by it, several times we talked it over.
The day came. I picked him up and he was so excited. He wanted to talk about it over and over and over. He wanted to know if Victoria would be there. I didn’t know, because she had the flu the few days prior and I didn’t know how she’d be feeling.
Finally, we arrived. We walked in and checked in and found the birthday boy and Victoria and Kelly. They asked Simon if he wanted to go see the rink and he walked off with them. This is such a change for him. Usually, he clams up around other people and will cling to the one he knows like a little barnacle. After starting school this year, it has really changed. He’ll talk to strangers, to adults (to Mark), and leave my side. It’s really great to see.
I got his skates and we were set. I should add that I was NOT skating. Kelly advised against it, might be the best advice she’s ever given me.
We got him strapped in and I helped him stand. He was wobbly, of course, but seemed fine. I held him and we moved toward the rink. We got within one foot of it and he stopped cold. “I don’t want to do this.” I tried to coax him into trying it. Just taking a moment and letting me help. I tried to get him in the practice rink. Mark skated over and tried to convince him. Simon wouldn’t budge. He would not skate.
Off the skates came and now we had to entertain ourselves while everyone else was skating. Luckily, the rink has arcade games and things. Simon’s never played these, but I think I may have created a monster.
Playing his first ever game of Skee Ball. Have I ever told you how much I love Skee Ball? It’s so fun and addictive. It’s the only thing I want to play at places like this. I introduced him to it and he liked it. Probably not as much as me, but he liked it. After his game, some tickets came out. He was so thrilled. Actually giddy that he won tickets. He had no idea that the tickets got him prizes, he just got that excited to win little pieces of paper.
I don’t even know what he’s playing, he just wanted to try it all. This game, he won’t like 40 tickets or something insane. When he won that many he got so excited he said to me, “can I go show her?” and he pointed at Kelly. I said of course and he ran straight over to her and held up his tickets and showed them to her. She has a great picture of him holding the tickets (which I’d like her to share with me, along with the one of the two of us…?).
Then, we were off again, to play more games while Christian and Co. skated their little hearts out. Finally, it was time for lunch and we all got together. It was a construction themed party, there were all these cute little hats for the kids to wear.
Maybe “little” hats isn’t the right term.
The birthday boy was starving (naturally, after all that skating) and I love this pic of him and his sister.
Simon was really digging these.
That’s probably my favorite picture from the day. It’s so “in the moment”. Completely captures these darling little boys.
Though I really do love this, too. They had this sign on the table with is name and age on it. I told Kelly she should get a shot of him holding it. She handed it to him and told him to turn around and hold it up. He was too busy eating to turn around, so he just held it up like he’s too cool for school. Love it.
The best attempt at a family photo. (And Simon LOVED this cake…hint, hint)
A boy and his daddy. I know they’re not posing, but look how happy Christian is.
I like this one because it looks like he’s praying. Probably that they’ll hurry up and let him eat cake…
Blowing out his candles.
And then I zoomed out to get a shot of his mommy watching him blow out the candles.
Isn’t that sweet?
I also really love this picture. I don’t know what’s happening here, but I love that he and Kelly have identical expressions. Christian looks and acts so much like Mark that sometimes it is easy to forget how much of Kelly he has in him.
Okay, maybe this is my favorite photo of the day.
He didn’t know anyone was watching…
Want to get the attention of a bunch of young boys?
Cut a cake.
This boy was the only one there wearing a party hat. I thought it was adorable that he figured he was supposed to, so he just did.
Simon then asked to borrow the camera during the present portion.
He took this. I think someone wanted to roller skate more than he let on…
This cracked me up. He’s taking pictures of the roller skates behind the counter, I know because he told me. When I looked at this later, you see the skate dispenser guy, waving madly. Clearly, he’s got the right job.
It was a fun party and Simon really had a great time. No one could top how happy Christian was. Happy Birthday little guy!