Today my family celebrated Oliver and his 7th birthday! We gathered at the House of Bounce, located on North Main Street in Joplin. Ollie’s mom and my son married recently, making Oliver an official grandson, but I’ve thought of him as one for quite some time. It was a pleasure to watch him have fun this evening and join with him in eating birthday cookie.
The House of Bounce is a cool place for birthday parties. Megan and Nate rented it out tonight so that the kids could bounce and run and play freely. The large inflatable slides, houses and the new wrecking ball arena are continually filled with flowing air and provide a safe environment for jumping, flipping, sliding and somersaulting. There are ample picnic style tables in the middle of the huge room so the adults can comfortably sit and watch.
Except the younger adults in the family, the parents of the kids, seem to enjoy House of Bounce almost as much as the children. It was hilarious to watch them battle it out in the Wrecking Ball Arena, struggling to keep their balance on the inflated perches while dodging the weighted, air filled wrecking ball. They good naturedly allowed the kids to join in and all had a great time. Adriel discovered that it was fun and a little scary to go down the slide while sitting up facing backward and we laughed as other adults tried it. The kids got pink faces from running from activity to activity, laughing and calling out to each other. In the center of it all, having a marvelous time, was the birthday boy.
Oliver is Megan’s younger son. And in their newly blended family, he became the middle child. He is not daunted by having an older brother and a younger sister. Ever one to walk his own path, he will surely find his way through life, in his own charming way. Because Oliver is a charmer! With big brown eyes and a beautiful mop of straight brown hair, he only has to flash me a smile to melt my heart. He’s determined and focused and not afraid to go after what he wants. When he decided recently to grow his hair out, from short to shaggy, he didn’t let anyone or anything deter him. He likes his hair longish and I think he looks adorable. More importantly, I love that he knows what he wants and goes after it.
Ollie is at the age where he wants others to notice what he does and appreciate it. At many gatherings I’ve attended, he’s asked me to time him while he runs, rides his scooter or bike, or does some other physical feat. Tonight, when I walked into House of Bounce and spied him, he immediately called out “Yaya” and asked me to come with him to one of the big bouncy slides. “Watch me,” he shouted as he scooted up the steps and appeared at the top of the slide and flipped onto his back, preparing to come down the slide upside down. I documented his descent with my iPhone camera and cheered his efforts. Several times. And then off he scrambled to the other slide, where I watched him whoosh down in several interesting ways. It is so important for kids, and all of us really, to know we are seen and appreciated. It does Oliver’s heart good that his parents and grandparents pay attention to all that he accomplishes. This handsome boy is blessed in having family who does just that….applauds his endeavors.
I’m thrilled to be Oliver’s Yaya and I love the smiles, hugs and artwork I receive from him. He is affectionate, musical, smart and possesses high energy. There are big things ahead for this boy and he has the energy and determination to reach for them. I will enjoy journeying with him as he finds his path through life. Happy Birthday, Oliver! I love you!