Fifteen minutes before Jackson’s birthday party started at the pool, I was standing under a tent staring at rain and listening to thunder. I had no backup plan.
I’d spent about 72 hours willing the weather forecast to change. It hadn’t. As it turns out, you can’t just will the weather to do what you want…which a crying shame if you ask me.
I thought I was so clever when I sent Star Wars invitations, inviting his friends to join us on the Planet Kamino, the rain planet. I thought, “Water, pool, awesome!” Now there was actual rain. And I, the person who normally has Plans B, C and D, just stood there staring at water fall out the sky, reflecting on the bitter irony of it all.
Then the rain began to slack. Then it stopped. Family and friends arrived. We all stood under the tent and begged the break in the clouds we could see just to the west of us to move our way. It did.
In the meantime, we passed out pool noodle light sabers. The kids couldn’t swim, but they could pound the mess out of each other with foam.
Several of them kept asking WHEN they could get in the water. I told them I wasn’t the boss. The life guards would tell us when it was safe. I said this because the life guards were hiding in the snack shack at the time. And for once, I wanted to pass the buck to someone else.
Those poor 17-year-old girls, who were just trying to earn some summer cash, made the terrible mistake of emerging from the snack shack while there was still time on the clock from the last clap of thunder before the kids could swim. The savages swarmed them.
When can we get in the pool? It hasn’t thundered in FOREVER. When can we get in the pool? Has it been long enough yet? Are you sure your watch is right? I don’t hear thunder! WHEN CAN WE GET IN THE POOL?!?!?!
Then from the crowd emerged the one girl who had arrived at that point. She’s the younger sister of one of J’s best pals. She’d had enough waiting for these boys to fix the problem. She channeled her inner Norma Ray and began to lead the rebellion in a chant: You’re ruining our party! You’re ruining our party! You’re ruining our party!
Good parents would have broken up the insurrection. Good parents would have told them these life guards were just doing their job. Good parents would lay down the law.
We are not good parents. We stood under our tent, drinking beer, laughing.
Finally, the timer ran out. The kids got to swim. They ate cake and sang Happy Birthday. And it really was a happy one in the end.
As we packed up to leave at the end of the evening, my son hugged me, “It’s good to eight!” Indeed it is, my boy. Indeed it is.