Every 7-year-old should have their birthday on a Friday.
The school celebration, the weekend ahead — we should just make it mandatory.
As hard as it is to believe that my daughter, Addy, is now less than nine years away from driving and six from the dreaded teenage years, it was surprisingly easy to handle this time around for me.
Maybe that’s because her birthday was somewhat spread out over the course of a weekend. In fact, she even had a fellow newly crowned, 7-year-old friend’s birthday to celebrate, too.
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When you factor in a soccer game at Legacy Park (at high noon on a late-summer, 90-degree day), time with grandma and grandpa, Oktoberfest in downtown Lee’s Summit, a Friday night birthday dinner at Third Street Social and, finally, the actual Sunday afternoon birthday party with friends and family at Miller J. Fields Park — wow.
Like many first-graders, it seems, Addy’s social calendar is an endless stream of gotta-go, hustle and hurry. I remember at one point telling her we needed to read at least one book that weekend. I am hoping that happened at grandma’s house.
During those times, you try to stop — even for a second — to enjoy just a candid or solemn moment with your kiddos. Last weekend, Addy captured that brief moment during the frenzied bustle of Oktoberfest rides and games.
Somewhere in between the second go-round on the Dizzy Dragons and playing a game I like to call “throw the dull dart at the half-inflated balloon” (a successful pop thus earning her a framed “Frozen” photo), Addy stopped in the crowd — surrounded by funnel cakes, cotton candy and crazed kids — to announce “best dad in the world” status to me, adding she wouldn’t “trade me for all the lollipops.”
Now, Addy’s declarations have been well documented — always highly entertaining, usually frank, and often with the sincerity a 6- or 7-year-old cannot help but exhibit.
This one caught me off guard because of her laser focus just a minute earlier on what ride or $5 game we were headed to next.
Sometimes she has an end game to such pronouncements. Sometimes, she’s a little tired. I won’t ever question it too much. I told her she was a constant source of amusing non-sequiturs. Then, of course, I tried to explain that one to her.
Watching Addy and her friends interact at her birthday recently reminded me just how special, how meaningful, these years are and will be for her. She’s learning to interact, to have fun, to pick her battles, to just outright battle, to share, to be kind, and to expect kindness in return.
If she can remember to charge her Chromebook, ask her parents to sign whatever weekly form has come home, and to turn in her library books, I will declare victory. She’s 7 — and I have to remember that.
Lee’s Summit resident John Beaudoin writes about city and civic issues, people and personalities around town. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.