Happy birthday to my amazing boy, Ian. We decided to try something new for his party this year. The Virginia Aquarium has an Adventure Park ropes and zip line course in the trees behind it. We primarily picked it because they let you bring your own food for the party which allowed our gluten sensitive guests to eat the same things everyone else did. It also was something completely new for all of us, kids and adults.
We ended up with nine kids and four adults acting as chaperones. Those adults were really needed in the beginning for the younger kids. But what amazed me is that for Lily and Gabi (the six year olds under my watchful eye), their biggest challenge was being too short for some of the clip locations. Otherwise, they did great, even better than their older brother and Ian at times.
The session starts with a mandatory bathroom break for everyone, which is smart given the complexity of the harnesses we had to put on. We then got a 20 minute lesson on how the carabiners work and how to transfer from line to line. As the instructor started his schpeal I thought, "This is going to be a fiasco. There's no way these kids got all that." He asked if there were any questions and the kids all shook their heads no. I was dubious.
And damn their times, they just clipped in and went to town. Lily was the one closest to me and she just kept saying, "This one is locked and this one is unlocked. So this is how you do it, Miss Genie." These kids could barely get their little fingers to reach the release and the clip at the same time but they were undaunted by the zip line procedures to hook up three different things in a very particular order. Behold the power of motivation. These little wildlings wanted to be up in the trees something fierce.
I was so delighted to follow along behind them. Feens got to her first platform about 10 feet in the air and threw her little fists into the air screaming, "I did it!!!" You could actually hear the multiple exclamation points at the end of her sentence.
We had our food and presents and I can tell you, as an adult, I was wiped out. The children, however, were still going strong. We decided to pool our efforts and let them do their Lord of the Flies thing in the streets of Ocean View. They have been racing up and down the road between our collective houses, riding bikes and scooters all over, and killing zombies in the treehouse out back. Good times.
I ordered pizza and made Ian's birthday giant chocolate chip cookie for the remaining gluten tolerant people to inhale for dinner. And I'm enjoying the relative peace and quiet of the house while the kids laugh outside.
Today was a good day.