#BigBen Strikes One

 Forgot the hashtag, but you get the idea

Forgot the hashtag, but you get the idea

Few things in life are quite as ridiculous as birthday parties for 1-year-olds. Think about it. Besides weddings, where else is a central protagonist of a celebratory event more irrelevant or overlooked? Nowhere. Grooms and 1-year-olds, that’s the list.

Extending the analogy one step farther, grooms and 1-year-olds both have one job. The groom has to not drop the ring. The 1-year-old has to obliterate a cupcake in such a way as to sufficiently entertain the crowd. This past Saturday was B’s first birthday party, and much like his dad almost five years before, he did not disappoint.

But let me set the scene first. As everyone knows, theme selection makes or breaks a 1-year-old birthday party. The safe play is to choose a children’s character or TV show and build from there.  Mommy considered that option for a minute, but rather than aiming for the low-hanging fruit, she broke out the cherry picker and reached for the top prize: an entire foreign country. #BigBen, England, it was only natural really. Ambitious, yes, but the possibilities and potential were mind blowing. Did she pull it off? Oh yes, in a big way. Englanders everywhere would’ve been filled with pride…or possibly horror. Actually, maybe horror is more likely, but that’s their problem. I mean, you don’t hear any complaints from me about little Sam from Oxford having a America-themed party complete with Uncle Sam posters on the doors captioned “I Want You (To Come to My Birthday Party).”

Anyway, here are some photos of Mommy’s masterpiece…

 The Spread

The Spread

 Artwork by Roxanne Jensen

Artwork by Roxanne Jensen

 God Save the Queen

God Save the Queen

 Trendy yet classic

Trendy yet classic

 See what she did there?

See what she did there?

My contribution to all this? Not much. However, I did take the lead on picking up the food and balloons from the grocery and party stores, respectively. This may not sound like much, unless you’ve actually picked up a balloon order before. As I pulled into the party store parking lot, I was amused to find a young woman engaged in a futile attempt to corral about 57 balloons into the trunk of her SUV. I looked on and chuckled as she pushed the last straggler in only for another mischievous deviant to pop out and laugh in her face. In the end, she more or less threw herself onto the pile; one leg resting on the tailgate, both arms spread-eagled, head bobbing like a chicken trying to peck the balloons into the trunk. It was the most exhausting looking game of vertical Twister imaginable and was definitely the highlight of my morning, until I remembered why I was at the store. 

A sense of foreboding overcame me as I collected my seemingly manageable bundle of balloons from the store clerk. I walked out the automatic doors just in time for a gentle spring breeze to create an updraft in the foyer and propel me sidelong out into the parking lot, leaving a bemused group of children in martial arts costumes in my wake. I staggered towards the car, hopeful that my decision to skip breakfast wouldn’t backfire by allowing the balloons, buoyed by a sudden gust of wind, to carry me away. That would have made for a difficult conversation with the wife. Luckily, I made it. I decided to forgo any Twister-like contortion attempts and just sold out right from the start. I forced the balloons into the open trunk then dove headlong into them like a wide receiver stretching out for a deep ball, displaying utter disregard for my own personal safety. I then quickly pulled the trunk closed from the inside and maneuvered my way through the balloons and over the seats before finally collapsing, totally spent, into the driver’s seat. Worth it.

But enough about my heroics, let’s get down to business. After everyone tucked into the expansive spread, we located B (took a few minutes, but we did ultimately find him) and proceeded to the gift opening. I guess one could argue that tearing into at least one present is the 1-year-old's other job, but let’s be honest, no one really cares, largely because present opening time usually falls right around wine o’clock. But appreciated or not, B actually produced…

 #BigBen tearing it up

#BigBen tearing it up

 Beginning

Beginning

 Middle

Middle

 End

End

 Awesome (photo credit: Jess Ward)

Awesome (photo credit: Jess Ward)

Check and mate. You’re welcome, world. See you all next year; you know you’ll be back.