Yesterday was Shaya’s 7th birthday party. The kid loves golf and so he wanted a golf party.
“Putt-putt?” I asked.
He shook his head, vehemently.
“Real golf,” he said.
So I called Coach Todd, who taught my boys last year, to see if we might have a birthday party golf lesson at the course where he teaches. Turns out, after 17 years of working for one local municipality, his contract wasn’t renewed – so the scrappy coach set out a new plan for himself at Normandy Oaks, a public golf course in a quiet Royal Oak industrial neighborhood, and he was happy to host our party.
I love that my kids’ birthday parties are, for the most part, not your typical kids’ parties. If you know me at all, you know I live outside the box, and I hate to follow what everyone else does. So this was an opportunity to get creative.
I hadn’t seen the golf course or the clubhouse before we arrived with the cake and clubs yesterday, so I was trusting on fate that it would be wonderful. And it was.
Wide open greens with tall weeping willows to offer shade between the holes. A putting green with enough squares of fake grass for each child to take ambitious swings and a chipping green where they connected the club to the ball with exquisite enthusiasm.
The clubhouse was quaint, clean, and had the hockey game on (the Wings won!). Coach Todd informed the clubhouse manager a half-hour before the party was to begin that, “Oh, we’re having a party here today.” No sweat. Not an eyebrow raised. (How are people so laid-back?!)
The party was fantastic. Bright sun, clear blue skies, a cake with a golfing guy and a #18 flag and rocks made of candy on top of the buttercream. Little water bottles guzzled down. The girls running and playing between the big trees.
Birds and wind and quiet. No electronics. No buzzing. No constant entertainment to hold their attention.
Because in the natural world, you don’t need additional entertainment. There is enough happening outside to hold your interest and then some.
Three kids went home after the party and crashed, their parents texted me. Fresh air does a body good.
We gave used books – Hardy Boys – as favors, wrapped in last week’s newspaper. Parents and kids stayed around talking, playing, running, enjoying for quite a while after the party was supposed to end.
One parent commented on how nice it was to be able to just hang back, no pushing out the door as at arcades and pizza parties, where your time is scheduled strictly to start and to end.
I felt on top of the world – doing things differently, planning a party that my son was so happy with, and his friends too. Opening eyes to a whole new world, to the possibility of something unimagined.
Isn’t that what life is all about anyway?