Well, last Friday Jackson turned seven. It is somewhat hard to believe but not really because he has been reminding me of it for a few weeks now. Jimmy and I decided, for a few reasons, to try and NOT have a party this year. Jackson has come to expect it and we just wanted to do something different to celebrate. We decided a camping trip would be fun. My parents had said they wanted to come visit on his birthday weekend, so I figured maybe my Mom could watch my little ones and Jimmy, myself, and my Dad could take Jackson and Libby camping for one night. In my mind, leave at like five o'clock, drive no more than 30 minutes, set up a tent, make a fire, roast a marshmallow, go to sleep, wake up at seven and drive home. This seemed like as much as I or I thought, my kids, could handle. I knew they would think that was great and they would get plenty tired and have fun.
I ran this idea by Jimmy and he looked at me as though I was a total camping party pooper. He stated that he wanted to stay at least two nights and that one night was NOT enough. And he indicated he wanted to go farther away. So I said I was out. (This did not sound fun to me at all. I have a motherly instinct that said "RUN! Run far away from a two night camping exposition with two kids with no camping experience!") I told Jimmy that he could take them. But we got to a week before Jackson's birthday and nothing had been planned.
SO. Trying to compromise, I decided we could invite a few of Jackson's friends over, pitch a tent in the backyard, and pseudo-camp for three or four hours. Make a fire, roast hot dogs, make s'mores, and send everyone home tired. Jimmy said that was a good plan but, "I'll camp out with Jackson in the backyard and if anyone wants to stay, they can." Seems simple enough. I wrote an e mail to Jackson's friend's mommies, and said presents were not expected, just come and have fun. If you want to stay and camp out, bring a parent and a tent.
Well, what we ended up with was quite a celebration that seemed to evolve into absolutely everything associated with a party (even though this was supposed to be the un-party) and VERY LITTLE camping. Ninja swords, a fire, a gun (a b-b gun as a gift), fire works, legos, games, movie watching, and a sleepover. The whole ordeal lasted 16 hours, involved 27 people, and aside from the hot dogs, involved a menu of two things: carbs and sugar. I kept wondering, "If this is what Jackson's seventh birthday has become, what is it going to be like when he turns 17?" Some of my favorite moments were when Jackson ran inside, mid-party, to retrieve his CD player and Newsboys CD which he cranked up in the backyard while everyone ran around. Seeing him read his new Bible with a flashlight inside the tent. Also, when he stood beside my bed at 2:45 a.m. and told me he was ready for everyone to wake up. He ended up abandoning his friends, Libby (they shared a tent) and Jimmy and ended up sleeping next to me in my bed. I awoke at 6:45 a.m. to find Libby and Jimmy inside as well, asleep in the living room. What kind of people invite their friends over for a camp out and then just leave their guests in the backyard?! I was sort of embarrassed!
What have I learned from this? That I married a party animal, I'm raising a party animal, and I might as well accept it. Seven is the perfect number. I'm pretty sure Jackson had the perfect party. It was quite an event. Oh, and on the morning of his birthday he lost his first tooth. Like, really lost it. It fell out and he had no idea where it was. This proves once again that Jackson takes after Jimmy in MANY ways. Partying, camping, and losing things. So my job is to plan and host the parties, refuse to go camping, and find stuff. I love my job.