My baby girl turned 8 yesterday. In the time-honored tradition of parents everywhere, I have mixed feelings about another birthday. It's that whole bittersweet thing. As I've gotten older, birthdays have become quite the existential experience. Thoughts of the past fuse together with thoughts of the future to create a weird mental state. But enough of that.
The birthday festivities kicked off Friday. We took Quinn to get her ears pierced after school. We always tell Quinn she's "one tough cookie," and true to form, not a tear, not even a flinch. Her best friend had her ears pierced too, and it was pretty cool to see how excited they were. The earring thing is interesting. I would have let Quinn get her ears pierced earlier, but Meg had always said the girls should be 10. She changed her mind recently, and like the good husband I am, no questions were asked.
The girls enjoy coming up with themes for their parties, and in a testament to the power of marketing, Quinn went with a Rango theme this year. We did the movie of course, and then we did a lizard scavenger hunt in the backyard. I was Rango's deputy sheriff, and the girls had to check in with me when they found their lizards. I got to wear the sheriff's badge my buddy Matt bought me when we went to Tombstone that one time: Sheriff Tim. Probably enjoyed that more than a grown man should, but whatayagonnado.
Quick tangent to discuss Rango. I'm not sure who loved it more, the kids or the adults. It's a spot-on homage to Westerns, with a brilliant nod to Clint. In the beginning of the movie Rango talks about what makes an effective story. He uses words like protagonist and conflict, things I try to teach my students every year. I like to use movies to help kids understand the elements of fiction, and I'm sure we'll be watching Rango next year. Not only is Rango a possible teaching tool, I wouldn't be surprised if it's nominated for best movie. My man, Roger Ebert, gave it four stars, and I have to agree, it's that good. My only complaint is geographical. The Mojave Desrt of the movie has saguaro cactus prominently featured. We take this a little personally down here in the Sonoran Desert. There are no saguaros in the Mojave Desert. Saguaros can only be found in the Sonoran Desert. Thank you very much.
Back to the party. Instead of cake, Quinn wanted a giant chocolate chip cookie with a frosted peace sign. After chocolate chip cookie and ice cream, we did the presents. Quinn lit up with each gift like it was the best present she'd ever received. She profusely thanked each friend and gave them a hug. I was really proud of how she handled herself. That was pretty much the party. Before each kid left, Quinn gave them a little cactus she picked out at a local nursery. It was a great party, great day. Still can't believe my little girl is 8.