Who knew playing “Cars 2 Memory” could be so enlightening. This week, Dylan got “Cars 2 Memory,” a belated birthday present from a friend who wasn’t able to come to his party.
In the Cars 2 version of this classic game, when you make a match you put the pair of cards in a cardboard grandstand that overlooks a cardboard race track. When you make a match, you also move a Lightning McQueen or Francesco race car ahead one square on the race track. Whichever car reaches the finish line first by making the most matches wins the race and the game. The effect of the grandstand is that all of the cars get to watch the race.
On Friday morning, the game scene in my house went something like this: When it was Dylan’s turn, he would flip one card over and then peek under as many other cards as possible (i.e.cheat) before choosing a second card to flip over. Or, he would flip over one card and then ask me where the match was. “Where’s the other Nigel Gearsley, Mommy?” “Where’s the other Luigi, Mommy?” “Where’s the other Mater, Mommy?” Riley would cry if he took a turn and didn’t make a match, and he would periodically snatch the race cars and bring them to another room just for the fun of it. If I made a match, Dylan would cry because he wanted to win. If anyone of us made a match, Dylan and Riley would fight over who got to put the cards in the grandstand. I sipped my coffee, hoped my head wouldn’t explode, and thought about how nice it would be to lock myself in the bathroom.
About ten minutes into the madness, Mike walked in the room and I said, “I’m losing precious minutes of my life playing this game right now.”
He looked at me and said, “These are the precious minutes of your life.”
He was right. (I hate when he’s right.)
On Saturday night, we hosted Dylan’s 5th birthday party at our house. We did a drive-in movie theme and rented an outdoor movie screen to watch “Cars 2” (of course) in our back yard. Everything about the party was big.
The cake was big.
The crowd was big.
The balloon was big.
The pile of presents was big.
And the movie screen…It. Was. Big.
The guy from the movie screen company arrived at our house an hour before the party was scheduled to start. We had ordered the smallest outdoor screen for our party (16x16x16 feet, which is not small by any means) and the guy said, “If you want, I can upgrade you to the 24x24x24 foot screen. Your yard is big enough.” I said, “You don’t think that’s too big?” He said with a little bit of arrogance, “It will be impressive.” I was inclined to say, “No thank you.” It sounded too big and it also cost an extra $30, but Mike wanted to do it. Apparently men like everything to be big. I’m sure you can predict the ending of this story. We went with the bigger screen.
As impressive as the screen was, the biggest part of the night happened at the very end. The boys were exhausted after the party ended. Riley, who we referred to as the birthday party best man, fell asleep on the couch watching “Wonder Pets” while Mike an dI cleaned up. For me, there is nothing more tender than putting a sleeping child to bed. We changed Riley’s diaper and put on his pajamas, and he never even opened his eyes (or brushed his teeth). It was a gift (except for the not brushing his teeth part).
Dylan was lucid until the very end. Even though he started melting down from exhaustion, Mike and I had the chance to quietly sing happy birthday to him and tell him how special he was, how happy we were that he had fun at his party and how much we loved him (and that, yes, he could open all of his presents in the morning). Even with the hoopla and excitement of the party, the best part of the night, without a doubt, was seeing the sleepy joy on Dylan’s face as he drifted into a dream after such a Big day.
Filed under birthday, Cars