Manly Birthday Party
today, i took my middle son to a friend’s birthday party. i have three sons and have been to many different kinds of children’s parties. i have never been to a child’s birthday party like this one. it was for boys and their dads. it was a manly birthday party. we make swords and proceeded to engage in a variety of sword-fighting scenarios. it was totally awesome. i do not know if i or my eight year old son had more fun. the swords were a simple affair. they were just a length of pvc pipe with a piece of foam noodle — like you would use in a swimming pool — covering the area used as a blade. this was covered with a tube sock. the sock was secured to the pipe with black electrical tape, that was then wrapped over the handle like you would wrap a hockey stick or a baseball bat. we used colored sharpie markers to decorate our swords. each participant then named his sword so as to identify it as his. my son decided to display his usual creative spirit and refused to name or decorate his until we got it home. then he named it “terminator 3”. i named my “the hammer”. we had father/son sword fights. we had major battles with the kids against the dads. then we had arena matches. this is when one fighter is in the center of the circle and anyone can challenge him. it is purely winner stands and he has to fight anyone who challenges him. very cool. perhaps one of the best parts of the day is that we got to take our swords home. then the whole family got involved. we even had a tournament tonight in the back yard. believe it or not, grandma and grandpa (who happen to be here for a visit) won first and second, respectively. it really was a fun time. the most valuable part of the day for me was that it was a chance for my son to do something with his dad in the context of other fathers and sons. and it was a very, very manly thing.