At 9:30 in the morning.
I know. I know! Who does that? I laughed when I got the evite. I laughed because I thought it was a terrible idea and yet I knew I'd be getting up earlier on a Saturday than I do during the week and driving fourteen miles so that Hank could attend.
But you see, Chuck E Cheese is like Hank's Paris. He enjoys the place rhapsodically, he vows to return more often in the future, and he is sure that he is really his truest, most essential self when there. I could not stand in the way of that.
I came in, said hi, saw him busily setting out with his pals and his tokens, and then I left and ran an errand. I came back in time to see them bust a pinata full of tickets and spend their last tokens and it was still way more Chuck E Cheese than I wanted. The whole economy of tokens-tickets-little toys is depressing to me. But I am not here to bag on CEC. A mommyblogger griping about Chuck E Cheese is like an 80's comedian talking about the bad food on airplanes. (There used to be food on airplanes!) Nah, I'm not judging the Chuck, I'm just observing that it was the way it was. He had a blast. And I will say that at 9:30 in the morning, the place is clean and calm-ish.
Then we had a couple-hour lunch break at home before heading to the next partay, which was at Hank's karate place. THAT was a hootenanny and I literally spent about three minutes inside. When I arrived back at the end, all of the kids were exhausted and sweaty. It had turned into some kind of pre-K Crossfit. That was at 4:30. So Hank put in a 9-5 day of birthday going.
There's a little tidbit floating around on the intersphere about there being only 940 Saturdays between when your child is born and when he leaves for college. If your child is five, 260 of them are gone. I know, let's just sit with that for a minute. Click on that link--the Jezebel article has a graphic that makes it easier to grok. And yes, really, 940 is a big number. That's a lotta days! But it's more that there even is a number--that our lives with our children don't stretch out forever and ever in front of us like it seems when they're very little.
(I anticipate that my dad will be along in the comments to tell how he had this realization--that we have finite days with our children--when he was taking my younger sister to college. I don't know why MY leaving home did not occasion this thought, heh. We should ask him! But I mention it not to jump on your story Dad, but because I thought of it when I read this.)
This 940 Saturdays thing comes from Harley Rotbart's book No Regrets Parenting. I'm not likely to read it--I think I get it--but if you do, tell us if it's good. I mean, I am not like a guru of Parenting Zen, but I feel like I do okay with not feeling bogged down in the hard details and instead enjoying the passage of ordinary time with these guys.
Back when I was doing my cancer treatments and was scared and thought about dying more, I used to play a little game. I would ask myself, at some random point in the day, "Okay, if all of life were this moment right here, right now where you're trying to adjust Laura's watchband or waiting for Hank to put on his second sock, if this were the last and only moment forever, is it good? Is it enough?"
I never felt perfect fulfillment in those moments--like a resounding "YES" that would make a great ending for this blog post--but the self-questioning became a habit of mind that was its own comfort.
Goodness. I started at Chuck E Cheese and where did I take us? I've said it before, but man, daily blogging.
Hope your Saturday was good.