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Friday Night was fun for many with year-end celebrations all over town, Bailey was invited to a cool kid party, and well, there was even one in my own back yard.  A few weeks ago Noah mentioned having some friends over on the last day of school, and I was fine with that idea.  Then he posted his “virtual invite” on Facebook and immediate concerns popped through my head of what will we do with nearly 20 teenagers in my living room and exactly how much food and beverage that would require? But no big deal, they would only be here from 5p to 10p and only a few would be spending the night, so we would be just fine.  Surely they couldn’t wreck my home in that amount of time!  After further consideration, we decided to just move the party outside.  What a grand and marvelous idea that was!

For the record, the 5p arrival time turned into 4:06 and the 10p departure time turned into 11ish with thirteen boys sleeping over instead of just a few.  The only problem I found with thirteen teenage boys sprawled on my living room floor was that I had only purchased five rolls of cinnamon buns for their breakfast – they would simply have to share, which they did.

The problem, and I really don’t want to call it that because I do strive to make my blogs positive, but the problem with the youth of today is that they have grown up in a world of being catered to, having immediate gratification and expecting to be constantly entertained.  I think it is more of an American issue rather than a worldwide issue but still my thoughts centered around how to entertain these teens because I didn’t think Pin the Tail on the Donkey and Musical Chairs would cut it. The problem had a “natural” solution, it was to simply let them be children and create their own fun!

This is the part where you – my readers, family and friends find out that we don’t live in a neighborhood that requires homeowners’ dues and matching mailboxes nor do we have a manicured back yard.  We have very little grass in back because we opted to keep our strong and towering hardwood trees rather than hack them to the ground only to be replaced by something similar to a Bradford Pear tree, lovely as those are too! For this reason, the sunlight finds it hard to stream through the canopy that covers my back yard and thus very little grass grows.

Instead our back yard is a very fun place to grow up if your mother doesn’t mind mud and dirt and doing a lot of sweeping and laundry. Quite to my surprise, the teens seemed to think so too!  From the minute they began to arrive the first thing they hit was the rope swing that hangs from a very sturdy bough, part of my favorite tree in the whole yard.  This massive old-growth Oak must be over a two hundred years old.  The rope itself is a 200′ rope that David hung around the branch with a bow and arrow a few years ago. From the rope swing they bound up the secured ladder to the top of the treehouse for a look around and one little fellow stayed up there so long, for over an hour, that I was beginning to wonder if he could get down.

They enjoyed jumping over the mammoth man-made hole, dug personally by Noah and Bailey on a day when they had nothing better to do than dig holes in the back yard.  The trampoline springs seemed to squeak a little more last night due to the number of individuals on it at one time and I am sure it is more springy today for it, but they had fun.

The teardrop trailer David built years ago provided yet another hang-out spot for several at one time.  They called it their DJ hut as that is where the music was coming from for more most of the night.  I was surprised in their choice of music and that it was so tame.  I expected it to be much louder and have a little more spice.

Before the party Noah constructed the campfire ring out of rocks he found around the yard.  The logs around it were remnants from a felled Pine, a casualty of last Fall’s storms.  I wanted to sit and sing Kumbaya.

Between all of the little spots for the teens to congregate the tree house is the winner and as the evening progressed and became a little chilly the fire ring came in a close second. The whole yard front and back had the lingering smell of a smoky campfire, which I am always partial to.  This shows the tree house view.

I did respect what I thought would be their wishes and I refrained from snapping photographs of them.  Difficult for me but I managed; however, they didn’t seem to mind our adult presence in and around them as we traveled from the house to the shop, brought out more and more food and mingled on the outskirts of the party.  I keep wanting to call them children, but I know that it is derogatory to be called a child when you are a teen.  Some of the youth even sought us out for some discussions and I learned how to do the Turtle – thanks Julia!  For the reason above, none of these pictures show any people, just the Party Spot itself.  Please do take note that all of these pictures were taken this morning indicating how respectful they were of our home and grounds.  With the exception of a little pick-up this morning they didn’t make a mess at all and their behaviour was top-drawer.  We made it through the party unscathed.  They even cooked their own dinner by roasting hotdogs over the fire and making smores.  No pizza delivery!

Post Script: If I might back up just a bit, I would like to give my two-cents worth on the “virtual invitation”.  While the internet is a wonderful invention that no-one is exactly sure who created or when, it is very difficult to make it personal in a positive way; even though it makes things faster and easier.  I am old school and still carry around a tablet of paper, as my grandparents would call it, and my favorite pens with me wherever I go, just in case I want to jot down, also from my grandparent’s vocabulary, some notes.  A natural smile crossed my face when Bailey’s cool kid party invitation came in the mail, from the mailman – yes he is a man, with a real stamp affixed to it.  I must say “Thank You Yvonne” for taking the time and effort involved to make it personal. I could and probably will write a whole blog on the importance of personalism and how it makes people feel and the difference it can make in their lives, but not today.