This morning my family gathered to celebrate the birthday of my great niece, London Kate Miller. London, who turns five later in the month, is the oldest grandchild of my sister, Linda. What a happy bunch of us showed up at the Joplin Chuck E Cheese restaurant, which is always a favorite hang out for the kids in my family. Today, the adults joined in as well, making a boisterous group of 28 there to laugh and sing and watch over the kids as they played together. One of the things I love about my family is how my sisters and I get our grandchildren together as often as we can, so that those kids, who are all second cousins, spend as much time together and enjoy each other as much as our children did, growing up. I was thrilled today that most of the family was present, with the exception of my eldest grandson, Dayan, and one of Linda’s granddaughters, Aralyn. Unfortunately, both of Linda’s sons had to work today and couldn’t join us either.
London had a princess party at Chuck E Cheese. This specialty pizza place provides a safe environment for kids to run and play and plug tokens into machines, earning tickets. Those tickets are redeemed later for prizes. The boys in the family know how to turn those tokens into a large pile of tickets. However, London and Aubrey have always been more of the opinion that playing and running around is preferred, and if they happen to win a few tickets, that’s good enough for them. The grown up “kids” had just as much fun, adding an element of competition to their playing. The basketball hoops and the skee ball lanes allowed challenges to be thrown out and provided much fun for the rest of us, watching. Young Weston wasn’t quite sure about all the noise, and that giant mouse that occasionally roamed around, but he enjoyed the pizza and played. Baby Lola got passed around for all to admire and coo over. She is adorable and will be joining in on the fun before we know it.
At the center of this whirl of activity was the birthday girl. London is a beautiful child, full of bright energy, with big, sparkling blue eyes that can get quite the mischievous glint in them. She is smart, affectionate, playful, and loves to dance, sing and create. And she knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to ask about it or go after it. She enjoys her family and passes out hugs and kisses generously. My granddaughter Aubrey and London have been close since babyhood. These girls think of each other as sisters and best friends. I’m so glad they got to party together today! At Chuck E Cheese the birthday child gets a trip into a wind tunnel, where tickets fly about and can be caught. London invited Aubrey to join her. With their clear goggles on they stood ready. They had fun grabbing at the swirling tickets. This was Aubrey’s second time to be in the tunnel. She learned from past experience to grab and hold the caught tickets close to her chest. She scored a big haul for her cousin!
What a fun morning. Although I took time to grab a salad, I forgot to eat any pizza. I enjoyed walking around, taking photos, talking to little kids and big kids, and chatting with my mom, sisters, and nieces. I picked out a special gift for London Kate. It is from a line of dolls called Journey Girls. And this particular Journey Girl is blue eyed with light brown hair, just like the birthday girl. She is wearing a frilly purple dress, and her name is London. I hope London Kate enjoys playing with her. I will enjoy watching this bright child as she continues to grow, marveling at her quick wit and her giftedness, her affectionate nature and her soulful eyes. Look out world, this is London Kate! Happy birthday, dear girl.