Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

When our boys were little, birthday parties were a big deal.  A really big deal.  My wife made cakes that looked like bunnies, bears, bat man – you name it, she made it.  She even sewed costumes when appropriate.  I remember one birthday, the whole house was decorated like a circus, and I dressed up as a clown.  We went all out to show our sons they were indeed special and deserved a really special day.

Today, it’s exciting to know that they and their wives want to make their children’s birthdays special. However, there are times when I’m not all that excited about what they think entails “special.”   I’m into being creative as much as the next person, but our oldest granddaughter once came up with a request that scared me to death.  She wanted to have a roller skating party.  That’s fine. Cute, even.  But, she wants GrandBob (that would be me) to come and skate. That’s not fine.  I’ve never been very coordinated.  I wasn’t coordinated when I was younger; and, you add 30-plus years and “a pound or two” to my child raising years, and my negative-coordination-index becomes lethal.

It’s flattering, really, that both she and my son want me there.  I’ve always been a go-to person in getting things done.  Always been involved.  It’s sweet that they take for granted that I would want to come and skate.  However, the thought of me rolling my brittle bones across a wooden floor while 20 4-year olds trip and fall down all around me makes me break out in a cold sweat.  They remember me jogging 30 or more miles a week and staying on the go.  I more recently remember my two knee surgeries.

I told my son, “There is no way this GrandBob is going to get out on that floor.”   He wanted to know what I was worried about, “Are you afraid of falling down?”  I had to think about that a while.  Certainly falling down isn’t attractive.  I could throw out my back, scrape my knees, break a bone, bruise an elbow – any of a hundred things.  But, the real issue is not falling down.  It’s getting back up.

I also don’t believe other members of my family are being honest.  I know my son wants me there so he won’t have to get on skates with his daughter.  He’ll just look at me and say, “GrandBob, she really prefers you to skate with her.”  I know my wife wants me to go so she won’t have to skate with 20 whirling munchkins nipping at her heels.  My daughter-in-law says she wants me there because she’s going to be coordinating the party and won’t have time to skate.  I would be the designated skating target for all the children.

I said son, when I fall down (not IF, but when), I’ll probably slide across the floor, knock down all the children, and ruin the whole event.  Do you want that on your head?

He’s quick.  He said, how about if we just have a pizza party?  Now, we’re talking.  That’s something an old man can handle.

Date of Blog Story: 
November 12, 2007

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