It’s official…. My first born, Adam, has turned 16 years old! Two days before Thanksgiving, my wonderful son has reached another major milestone in his life. We celebrated with cake and gaming at an 80’s style arcade/bar/restaurant called Quarters. For real, the games actually cost a quarter just like they did when I was a kid playing at the local arcade with my siblings.
Adam loves the “retro gaming” as he calls it. Super Mario Brothers was the first game he got into and has been into it ever since. Since then he has added Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Tetris to his list of favorites. Of course he plays modern games like the Lego series (Batman is his favorite) and Skylanders but it’s old games that sparked this birthday party theme.
Starting 10th Grade, trials and triumphs:
Adam’s second year in high school hasn’t been met with rainbows and kittens. As we all know, high school is tough. It can be tougher on those who don’t exactly fit in. We are talking about kids who may be dealing with more then they need to at home or kids who have a learning or neurological disadvantage within the school system. Most kids feel abnormal in their teens. Their bodies and brains are changing and add hormones on top of everything else – yeah, high school is tough.
The first semester has been tough but Adam is doing a great job of staying on task, getting good grades, and following the rules. Adam, himself, has even come up with a game plan to help him navigate better when to take a breather and how to deal with difficult situations at school.
Make Way for the Gamer!
Because Adam really wanted the old Nintendo controller to be the center of his theme for his party, I had to come up with a design that was unique to him. First, I searched Etsy for retro gaming designs. Most of them were Xbox related but I did finally find the NES controller. So, the candy bar became the goodie bag.
Next, was to design Adam’s party invitation. Again, I went to Etsy but I found nothing that suited Adam. So I did what I usually do when I can’t find something unique – I made it myself, with Adam’s input. I used PicMonkey to help me design the perfect invitation for my boy.
Finally, there was the cake. I only found one cake design on Etsy and it was again, related to Xbox. While Adam likes the Xbox, he’s more of a Wii U and Switch kinda guy. So PicMonkey came to the rescue once again!
When Only One Kid Shows Up:
So after all the planning and every kid responds with a yes, it’s finally party time. One problem though – only one kid shows up. This is a tough blow but it was tougher on me and Adam’s dad than it was on Adam. The kid that showed up was Adam’s closest friend. Therefore, Adam was totally okay with the other kids not coming.
Of course he had his brother and two of his cousins there. All Adam really cared about was getting to play all the games with his friend, eat great food, and finish it off with cake and gifts.
At the end of the afternoon, Adam was really happy and it didn’t matter how many kids showed up. He got to have his fun and celebrate with the ones he cares about. Later that night I did get a call from a mom of two of the kids. The one teen had a soccer game and she got distracted by that. Totally understandable.
By Monday, four other kids were distraught that they forgot and was really sorry to have missed it. Since Tuesday was Adam’s actual 16th birthday, I figured I’d bring in what was left of the cake and surprise him and his classmates with an impromptu party.
Reflecting on Parenting this Amazing Kid:
Every year my first born gets older, I reflect back to his baby days. Now, as he has turned 16, I reflect on every year that has passed. I am reminded of what an amazing gift he has been to me. My first born didn’t talk until he was 3 1/2 years old. He could read by age 3 but conversations were limited to echolalia. Since then, I have watched this amazing kid go from barely talking to making us all laugh with his comedy skits.
I have watched this astounding human being go from only socializing with adults to making a few really good friends with his peers. I have seen him go from many meltdowns, to communicating his needs daily.
He has developed into a compassionate and intelligent young man who is full of life – and full of love. He walks into a room and it immediately lights up. Everyone who knows him, loves him. As a mother, I couldn’t ask for more than that. He amazes me every day!
So here is a little semi-poem I have written for my first born on his 16th birthday…
Happy Birthday, Honey Bear!
Thanks so much for reading!
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