At 4:17pm on Monday afternoon I was sat in my living room, dressed as Luigi, facing the wall…
My wife, dressed as Mario (looking confusingly attractive), was sat on the floor behind me encouraging a small group of five-year-old boys to pass a ‘parcel’ around the circle. It’s at this point I’m pretty sure time stopped. We were just 17 minutes into my eldest son’s sixth birthday party and my enthusiasm had already been wrestled away. Turns out that if there isn’t enough planned party activity, sugar-crazed boys default past time is wrestling, and my Luigi costume made me the fodder of choice.
Pass the parcel lasted exactly six minutes (I know, I timed it) and with the boys looking menacingly at my green hat I decided to bring out our second (and last) game. Not exactly in line with the Mario theme, I hung the piñata and wished him good luck. The boys took it in turns to strike a treat-filled dinosaur with a lightsaber. The dinosaur put in a valiant effort and, to my relief, lasted until the pizza was ready. The pizza was followed by more sugar, disguised as a cake, and the last half an hour of the party is all a blur… I’m sure there was singing and presents and more wrestling. One of the boys was picked up three minutes late and it felt like he’d stayed the weekend and his parents had personally insulted my family. I ate a second and third piece of cake which helped calm me down, and also seemed to help with the clean up, though I’m still finding bits of dinosaur in my living room (God rest his soul).
The day following the party was my son’s actual birthday. This featured all the excitement you’d expect, more cake, less wrestling and a selection of grandparents. For me, it was more about recovery and I was glad to see my dad arrive who put in an impressive shift, though I did notice he was not wearing fancy dress which gave him a clear advantage.
Several days later with time ticking along at it’s normal rate I was sat in assembly as the school sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to my son. He stood smiling shyly, looking incredibly grown up. I’m not sure where the six years have gone, though I can’t remember life before him.
All I know is that time moving fast or slow… is better when he’s around. And, if I need time to slow down a bit… I’ll put on the Luigi costume and invite my son’s friends ’round for a wrestle.