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Celebrating my son's 'Big 1-0'

Posted: October 8, 2010 2:03 p.m.
Updated: October 11, 2010 5:00 a.m.

In the course of human events there comes a time when you realize you’re old.

OK, so 45 isn’t exactly ancient, and I’ve still got plenty of milestones to reach.

However, “old” was defined for me a week ago today not by my age, but by my eldest son’s.

He’s 10 now. Double digits. The big 1-0.

How in the heck-a-poo did that happen?!

It seems like just a few weeks ago, my younger son turned 9. Oh, wait a minute, that was a few weeks ago.

(Sheesh, a guy can’t catch a break!)

While we were unable to do all the “big” things we’d been able to do at the end of August, we kept Joshua’s 10th pretty simple.

Well, as simple as a 10-year-old will let you.

First, he wanted a cowboy and cowgirl (???!!!) party. Then he wanted an airplane party. Finally, he told us what he wanted: a secret agent party.

OK, righty then!

Unfortunately, due to my work schedule, my wife was left with most of the burden of figuring this one out.

She went everywhere to try to find stuff that would fit the theme. Finally, she was able to pick up a few spy-themed party favors and we came up with a few games for Josh, his brother and guests to play.

That morning, we gave him his present: spy goggles. For the first time ever, I think, he was speechless -- and said so.

They have LED flashlights at the corner of each lens so he can “see in the dark” and a two-piece telescope mounted on a boom by the right ear.

He was thrilled!

(First mission accomplished.)

Remember the Star Wars party his brother, Caleb, had?

When Josh’s guests showed up, guess what they broke out? Oh, no puny little spy guns for these guys. They started having secret agent light saber duels.

Go figure.

One of the games we came up with was a disguise relay race. Two bags of clothes (one of my shirts, a hat and a glove in each) were placed in front of the teams. The goal was to see who could put on their “disguise” the fastest.

Another game involved the use of eight “sticky balls” -- plastic balls with suction cups all around -- as grenades. Again, the boys were split up into teams. As each boy was hit by a “grenade” they were out. It finally came down to two of the guests and it must’ve taken another 15 minutes to finally get a winner.

Whew!

After all that training, they got to go on a mission. My wife was able to find a G.I. Joe: Rise of Kobra lunch box. We put “1” and “0” candles inside (for “10”) and hid it.

We gathered the boys on our front steps and read them the following clues:

1) “Someone has stolen the number 10.

“How are we to eat birthday cake and when?

“The number 10, it must be found;

“We know it’s not near, but far -- it’s around.”

2) “10, whoever finds it wins a prize;

“Find it and you’ll get a small surprise.”

3) “Another clue? OK here’s one:

“It’s inside of something fun.

“Is it on the ground or in the air?

“To find out, you might beware--

“If you fall, you’re probably done.”

They looked everywhere, even coming back to have the clues read back to them a second time.

With little hope showing in their eyes, I gave them one more clue: there’s a lot more to our yard than just the front.

Soon, we heard a bunch of yelling and the boys came running back to us.

The lunchbox was found in the crook of a tree in the back yard. And who found it?

Caleb, of course. The prize: the lunchbox.

In between and afterward we had hot dogs, chips and cake.

And then there was more spies vs. jedis. Or something like that.

Whenever someone asks me how the boys are doing, I respond by taking my hand and putting it up to my eyeglasses and say “Joshua’s this tall now.”

He’s a big kid, even for 10.

That doesn’t mean he’s always correspondingly mature.

Joshua still has a tendency to hug and kiss on us like a little kid. I’m not sure he quite gets the American notion of personal space. He still favors certain TV shows I would expect much younger kids to like.

Then again, he loves the Star Wars movies just as much as his dad, so it’s not that big a deal.

He sometimes gets a bit too angry when he feels someone’s done him wrong, stalking off or throwing a tantrum and acting like he’s never going to forgive you. Then he does.

What I’ve come to conclude is that Joshua is a sensitive soul. He takes things personally and can be a bit vain, but he has a good heart and is great with younger kids.

He’s very intelligent, reading everything in sight (usually out loud) and very creative, leaning toward music but also making up stories.

In some ways, I guess he’s like me. I may be 45 but my head sometimes still tricks me into thinking I’m in my 20s. I love to write, a creative process. We both love messing around on computers.

Despite -- or, in some way, because of -- his being adopted, Joshua is a chip off the old block.

Of course, I’m getting nervous just thinking about his 15th birthday when he starts asking for cars or to go out with girls. Yikes!

In the meantime, Happy Birthday, Josh. I love you.

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