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Saturday, June 22, 2013

The 13th birthday milestone: in other cultures, he'd be alone in the woods with a Spear right now

THE LoBIONDO FAMILY PASSES A MILESTONE - yesterday, we threw the mother of all backyard parties for Christian's 13th birthday.  The planning and execution was more exhausting than any Crew Meet or Gala I've ever been involved with, but so much more rewarding.  It was sort of open house style, with people coming in waves.  I believe the last wave showed up at 10 pm, there were kids who left the party, went to their 8th grade formal, and came back at 10:00 pm.  We had a total of maybe 50 kids all together.  We had the fabulous DJ Emma and Ryan but instead of dancing, the music was a backdrop for fierce games of football, soccer, frisbee, and a King of the Hill type game that was a combination of basketball, soccer and dodgeball.  We went through 600 water balloons and lost all the drinking water in our tank for a while. We measured the amount of hamburgers, hotdogs, sausage and peppers, and barbecued chicken by the dozens.  Mrs. Lo cooked for days and Anthony didn't stop the grill til 10:00 pm.  We had a  certified coach and phys ed teacher, Coach Cunningham, running the games.  Nick Bourne, former NFA Varsity Football and Crew and now a YWCA camp counselor over the summer was on hand to pump everybody up as only he can, and teach everyone the basics of football.  We have a lot of soccer players, so we really started basic, but even the girls learned how to play and were amazed at how good they were.  The kids hiked our stream up to the "waterfall" and almost to the Hudson River.  We brought together kids from all walks of life, from the City of Newburgh to the onion fields of Orange County and everybody bonded and yakked it up all night.  The parents showed me the texts their kids were sending them:  "PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't pick me up I'm having so much fun!"  Then around 9 pm, the kids decided they wanted to set up the slip and slide.  Sure, why not.    
     After all, our son is turning 13, utter exhaustion is a small price to pay for this much home-grown fun.  If we were in other cultures, right around this time, there are entirely different ways to celebrate.  For instance, in one culture I read about, at this age, Christian would have been sent into the woods alone.  With a spear.  And would not have been expected to come back until he was carrying dinner on his spear.  This is the age of risky behavior.  So far so good.  But yes, we will continue to offer to have "the party" at our house (also known to the kids as "Club Awesome") because that's how we keep an eye on them.
     Can we all come back tomorrow, Mrs. Lo, can we, can we, can we?  Tomorrow, huh.  Sure, as long as we don't have to cook again.  And bring some garbage bags, we have a lot of water balloon debris to clean up.  Have a great day, everyone!  <3  Mrs. Lo