My youngest son was invited to a bowling birthday party. He had never bowled before and was a tad bit anxious about bowling in front of his friends. Sean was paranoid. He thought they would all laugh at him. The birthday girl came over to him, gave him a hug, and tried to convince him there was nothing to worry about. He eyed her suspiciously and looked over at my husband and I, as if we had some special parental powers. Sean didn’t want to bowl, or rather I should say, he outright refused to bowl. Silly me, I figured he was looking forward to bowling since he had been excited from the day he brought home the invitation. But place him in front of the lanes, with his friends circling around him and wham! he decides to shut down.
Matt, my other son, asks if he could bowl with Sean. Sean’s eyes brightened as if the sun appeared after being hidden for days. Who knew all it took was the big brother to say something? He must have “brother magic”.
For a couple of hours, Sean and his friends laughed and howled as their bowling balls went bouncing off the bumper pads, slowly making the journey to end of the lane. Twenty 8 and 9 year olds were hovering around each others lanes, observing, commenting, and joking as the bowling balls were flying fast, or moving painfully slow, towards the pins. These kids did not care if the pins fell over or if the ball suddenly took a plunge into the gutter, they had a blast.
To our surprise, after the party ended, Sean asked if we could stay longer so he could bowl some more. Talk about a turn around! We decided to encourage this behavior and ended up bowling for another two hours, just the four of us. We plan to go again, this time bringing the “big teen”.
What could be better than spending a few hours with the family, laughing and playing together? Not much, I say, not much.