Monday, May 15, 2006

The Party

My son's 5-year old birthday party, the one for which I had been building the castle, ended up a magical celebration for the boy. We had Sir Lancelot leading a dubbing ceremony, where our son was crowned king and all the other children were dubbed lords and ladies of the realm. Following that, Merlin put on a magic show that entranced the forty or so lads and lasses that attended. We, then, had a treasure hunt for kingdom jewels that were hidden somewhere in the yard. Before the pizza and cake, we presented a check to the Children's Hospital - one of those big placard checks - which said we had raised $1,000 but in reality it's a little more. The doctor that had done my son's surgery when he was three months old (my boy, not the doctor, of course) accepted the donation. He's the one with the vision to take volunteer services to the poor in Alabama and later nationwide, so we feel like that's a great cause. A friedn had come over and baked a three-layer castle cake that looked truly marvelous. Picture the witch's sweet-laden cottage in Hansel and Gretel, and then imagine it's a castle instead. That's how it appeared.

My 14-year old nephew and I finished the castle about an hour and a half before party-time, and that's after I took Friday off to work on it and then the two of us pulling an all-nighter (well, we finally went to sleep at 5:00 a.m., but I was back awake at 7:45 and he at 9:00. So really, there wasn't much sleep, and I was living off fumes for the party and clean-up. Still kind of am a day and a half after.

Nonetheless, the castle ended up looking grand. Four towers/turrets with long walls, a drawbridge that could be raised and lowered (which, granted, is what makes it a drawbridge), and a portcullis. We painted "stones" on the towers, giving the castle a real look. And, in the end, it passed every test. The kids loved it, the adult guests thought we had bought it, my wife stated it was more than she ever imagined, and it even took a beating from the late Saturday night storm, withstanding the torrential rains and wind. So we received a passing grade. I do have to confess, without my totally game nephew (I had vastly underestimated the work), the structure would not have gotten finished in time for the party -- thank you Lord for him.

Seeing how seriously the kids took the dubbing, watching them transfixed by the magic show, and then having sword fights galore across the back yard -- and lastly, getting to hear kids as they walked away say things like, "That party was sooooo AWESOME!!!", well, it almost makes me think all those late nights and the all-nighter were worth it. But the crowner that does make every minute and dollar invested worth it is knowing that through my son's eyes, he couldn't have had a better party. My first remembrances (now) are when I was a five year old, and I'm betting his oldest memories, once he's grown, might be of this party - and that's kind of a cool thought.

On a separate but related note, my older son (7 year old) and I were talking late last night as I was putting him to bed - and we discussed how while we were having this fun party, there are other Christians in all parts of the world that cannot have these kinds of events, either because of their government laws, poverty, they don't have the resources, etc. It's good to keep everything in perspective, and I'm so pleased, in a fatherly sort of way, that my eldest son sees how much excess we have and has compassion for others. Obviously, it's one thing to talk about having compassion and another thing to show it, but it has to start with the seeing. And then having a soft heart. And he does have a tender heart. God couldn't have given me a better gift -- and it wasn't even my party.

Bottom-line: Banner castle! Banner party! Banner weekend! I'm so glad it's over...


DugALug said...


Congrats on a job well done. I'm really glad it worked out.

Tell your younger happy-birthday for me.

God Bless

Milly said...

You are Blessed.

Rich said...

Thanks, Doug and Millie.

codepoke said...

Sorry to be so late on this, but reference my earlier comment.