|Mason's 16th Birthday Weekend|
Happy Birthday, Mason! It was yesterday but it was epic. Let's look at this and tell the whole truth, Mason was not all that excited leading up to his 16th birthday. History has shown that we Partaks travel during the month of October and it's typically been a vacation that Mason would love. A few of those recent past-years vacations have been -
2018 - North Carolina where Dave and Mason went to a Panthers/Bucs game and Nashville.
2017 - Orlando and Tampa where Mason and Dave saw a Bucs/Panthers game at the Bucs home stadium in addition to Universal Studios for 2 days & Volcano Bay water park.
2016 - Chicago and then Southern CA and an NFL game watching the 49ers/Bucs play.
2015 - San Antonio, Sugarland & Houston where we had so much fun.
2014 - 4 day Disney Cruise to the Bahamas and then we spent a few extra days in Orlando.
2013 - 3 days in Disneyland staying at Paradise Pier, a Disney Hotel.
2012 - Earlier than his birthday (August) he and I went to Minnesota for a week - EPIC!
The birthdays prior to these he was littler and enjoyed a party at Old Town Pizza, several years at our local Community Festival that had bounce houses, food, crafts, and live music, and of course at our house. The point is that the last 6 years have been big family vacations and there was not such a trip planned this year. I was thinking it may involve a car but Mason has not been all that interested in even getting his driving permit so that idea seemed kind of silly. He mentioned having a party and I loved that idea. I asked him when, and what he was thinking for the theme (as a 15-year-old boy thinks about those things) and he never brought it up again. Of course, Dave and I talked about birthday dinner and we got him gifts, a very expensive high school letterman jacket that he took possession of before his actual birthday and he also opened the Amazon box that had his fun gift in it before I could wrap it up. I advised him not to, noting that he would be bummed if he didn't have gifts on his actual birthday but he assured me, he didn't care. The few days before his birthday he made it very clear that this was shaping up to be the worst birthday ever - clearly, he cared. I had to laugh and asked, "How can this be the worst birthday ever if it hasn't happened yet?"
Later that same day Hotty Roddy called to see about stopping over while he and Cat are traveling the country in their RV and that set in motion a chain of events that I don't know if I could have planned. We all got together late in the afternoon and it went into a night of lots of old stories and laughs when Rod said, "What have Greg and Heather been up to? I sure miss them and want to see them." Mason was at the homecoming football game on Friday night so on my way to pick him up, I called Heather to see if they could come and hang out with us on Saturday. Saturday we got our day underway and Greg, Heather, and the boys came to Auburn to play with us. We had a great day and then night eating, drinking, and laughing out back with a fire in the chiminea. Jennifer came over as well. So. Much. Fun! Now I know you are probably thinking, "Who's 16th birthday is this anyway?" Yes, Sunday was Mason's birthday and with our longtime friends that we don't get to see often enough sleeping over, sharing stories of Mason being little, and all the fun of what's to come, even Mason finally conceded that it was "THE BEST 16TH BIRTHDAY EVER!" Mason played with Josh and Jake, talked culinary skills with Rod, opened a few presents that though none of them were car keys, were still pretty oaky. I made him a scratch banana cake with Nutella frosting (as per his request) and our neighbor Jen made him a brownie with coffee ice cream cake! Yeah, it was SO GOOD! This was not a birthday of jet-setting or Disney cruising, but it was a birthday of love and family and friendship. I hope Mason will look back and realize that it really was the best 16th birthday ever! I'm bummed that the photo of Cat, Rod, and Mason is not so good, but it's all I have so it stays.
If you are interested in more, here my annual birthday post for Mason...
Happy 16th Birthday Mason!
Through the years I’ve written to you on your birthday so it’s safe to say that you know about the day you were born, the weeks leading up to that day, and of course the year and a half after when your dad deployed to Iraq. On your 16th birthday, I’m going to simply tell you how much I love you, and how proud of you I am.
Watching you grow up there are lots of things that I love about you. I love how you embrace life, I love how you are willing to do things by yourself, you don’t need other people to enjoy a movie or go to a water park - not many kids have the self-confidence to venture out on their own like you do. You are so strong yet you have such a tender heart, you care about people on a level that I don’t think I understood until I was well into my late 20s. You have a wicked sense of humor, you’re talented in so many ways, and you work hard if you decide the work is worth doing. But the thing I’m most proud of you for is your ability to communicate so effectively. Not only are you articulate, but you can keep your cool and find words even when emotions are running high, either angry, sad, or frustrated. You say how you feel with kindness and conviction.
You are wise Mason, you have good instincts and I am sure you have crazy success in your future. I can’t wait to see what’s next. I love you son, your dad and I are both so proud of you. Happy Birthday!