Our youngest wanted an ‘end of year’ party for his 4th grade classmates. We invited 20 and ended up with 13. The goal was to have a great time, have lots of things to do outside, and privately, to help my son feel loved by his fails-too-often dad.
First, we needed great weather.
It was absolutely perfect!
Then, we needed some fun things to do, starting with "Water fun". I used a huge tarp, buckets of water for squirt-gun fights, and the lady of the house harvested water guns from the Dollar store.
Of course, water balloons are always a hit, so what better party event than a custom-HINTER built water balloon launcher! Thanks to Fleet Farm and their ‘horse care’ department, I was able to get 2 10’ latex tubes (don't ask. I have no idea...but poor, poor horses!). As for the launcher? They worked great! (some balloons traveled over 100 feet)
And then we brought the BIG ballistics out. However, those didn’t travel as well so we ran water balloon tosses. I announced the contest and some said “Don’t keep track or some may lose”. I instinctively channeled my inner robot and pronounced, “Life is filled with winning and losing…get use to it”. Then, when a team dropped a balloon and it popped, I yelled, “OK. Losers down here while we watch the winners!” (You’re welcome…just trying to prepare these kids for reality.)
Of course, a party isn’t all about water fun. I set up badminton, croquet, horse-shoe toss, bocce ball, and provided footballs and frisbees. There were hours of “free form” fun.
Then, these 10 year-olds turned into future IBMers and started an endless debate on the nuances of how to play “Capture the Football”. I eventually yelled, “ON MY MARK, TEAM ONE ATTACK TEAM TWO….ONE, TWO, THREE: CHAAAAARGE!!!!”
...and much fun was had by all.
I also fixed up our park: Mowed, fixed fort, slide, and made the path good for bare feet. It was awesome to see all the kids explore like pirates searching the jungle for treasure.
After dinner on the grill, the games, and the water, we started our evening with a fire. Thanks to my WWJD bracelet (What Would Jack Do), the height of the fire exceeded all expectations.
Not to lose an opportunity, the classic “end of school year” burning of the homework commenced and was enjoyed by all
The day ended with s’mores, s'moritos (a HINTER creation….they’re awesome!) and night games. Three separate times during the evening a classmate pronounced, “This was the best party I’ve ever been to!" That felt good. Then later I heard my son quietly whisper, "Thanks Dad". That, I'll never forget.
After the guests left, and the kids were in bed, I sat by the embers of the fire with my wife. I felt such contentment. We agreed to etch this day into our memories so that on hard days we don’t forget how blessed we are living here, able to host parties, and raise the kids we have. In a very real sense this was the best Father’s Day gift I’ve ever received…a reminder at the impact I have on my kids lives if I work hard, apply creativity, and work to serve them rather than focus on my own wants.
What a day…what a party