Twenty-Seven days is all that separates our three kids’ birthdays.
Since their birthdays are close together we have always combined them into one end of summer birthday bash we call Triple Day.
Every year we’ve had a theme for the party. My favorite from the past was our Olympic party in 2012. There was a diving competition, water balloon toss, twister, attempts at synchronized swimming, and somehow by the end of the afternoon, we even had a kayak in the pool.
For this year’s theme my wife and I decided to do a 5k running race. The loop around our neighborhood is exactly one mile, so just over three laps would be a fun, easy course. As we started planning the party we decreased the race distance from a 5k to one mile and increased the participation from just runners and walkers to “any human powered vehicle,” a phrase coined by First Born. Once the theme was planned I went to the wonderful World Wide Web and ordered Fun Run race bibs, race course signs, and of course a bright orange “official Race Director” vest for myself.
Finally the big day arrived. People showed up to the party looking race ready. Guests showed up on bikes with kids in trailers attached, many people pulled out bikes and strollers from the trunks of their cars, neighborhood kids rolled up on their razor scooters and a friend of mine even skated up on his longboard!
A lot of people that showed up for the fun run (more than 50). I was excited, but really nervous about the possibility of someone having a bike crash or getting hit by a car. The thought of this whole party being a terrible idea crossed my mind more than once. There was no turning back now. I quieted everyone down before the start of the race and as I was about to go over some quick instructions, First Born shouted out, “During the race no one needs to worry about cars.” To which I replied, “Actually, that’s the only thing you DO need to worry about,” and off we went.
I led the race, on bike, wearing my orange vest and a stereo strapped to my back blaring the Rocky theme song. In a flash, three or four kids were flying down the road on their bikes, I had to speed up to show them the course so no one would get lost. Behind the “front of the pack riders” were the runners and slower bikers, and waaay behind them were the walkers and stroller pushers. As I approached the first turn on the course, I looked behind me to see our little fun run taking over the entire road and stretching two blocks long. Luckily the kids at the front of the pack were ok with me stopping and letting others catch up a bit before continuing the race.
In the end, the race went off with relatively few problems, the biggest issue was my son thinking he could keep up with the big kids and crashing his bike in the first 15 seconds of the race. As people finished the race and crossed the finish line, they were given a Gatorade and a gold medal for their efforts.
I was happy the race went well. But after it was over, we still had to host a party for the 70 or so people in attendance. I knew we wouldn’t run out of food, the night before the party my wife smoked 40 pounds of pork. After lunch, everyone sang Happy Birthday as our kids sat around the cake waiting for their chance to blow out the candles. Of course, the two big kids blew out all the candles before the Blonde Bomber got her chance. She was momentarily upset, but happy once again after we lit her a candle and let her blow it out by herself.
Later in the day we played and epic game of wiffle ball, boy vs. girls, that went straight from the top of the 1st inning to the bottom of the 9th and lasted approximately two hours.
As we said our goodbyes to our last party guests, ten hours after the party started, my wife, always one to look ahead said, “Well it’s probably about time to start thinking of a theme for next year’s party.”