Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Tallying My "Cool" Points

So, how did you spend your New Year's Eve?

I had eight teenagers in my house.

Three were mine. The other five were their friends.

And, believe me when I tell you. It was noisy here!
But it was also fun. Lots and lots of fun.
The teens arrived with items to contribute for a pot-luck style dinner, which we all ate together.
After dinner we played a board game and shared plenty of laughter. Then we went into the living room for a couple more games.
The first game is one you should probably play with your own kids.
Yes. It was that fun.
To set it up, get a BUNCH of candy and a roll, or two, of plastic wrap. Begin by wrapping a piece of candy in the plastic, then add another piece and wrap some more, and add more candy, and keep going and going until you have a great big ball of plastic wrap full of lots and lots of candy. Every now and then (like every 4-6 feet) cut the plastic wrap and start rolling with a fresh piece.
To play the game you need the ball of plastic/candy, two dice, and plenty of participants. One person begins unwrapping the plastic while the person to their left rolls the dice, trying to get doubles. When doubles are rolled the dice-roller takes the ball and starts unwrapping it - while the next person to the left starts rolling the dice.
And so it goes: one person unwrapping the ball while another rolls dice in order to get a chance at unwrapping the ball.
(BTW, you get to keep all the candy which is released during your turn.)
When we played, it was a room full of flying candy, screaming teens, tons of laughter, and a healthy amount of frustration every time a piece of plastic wrap ended. Because, believe me, there's a lot of pressure going when you're trying to find the new beginning so you can start getting more candy - before the person next to you rolls doubles and takes the candy ball away from you.

So, we played that game. Then we played Black Jack - using the candy we'd just collected as our "money" for betting. Eventually, we found ourselves in front of the TV counting down to the New Year. We yelled and popped our noise-makers, and yelled some more.
Then I said good-night to the kids and went to bed.
But not quite to sleep.
You see, these eight teenagers in my home thought it would be a great idea to stay up all.night.long. And to achieve a feat like that necessitated noise. Lots of it.
I had agreed to the all-nighter. I knew it was going to be loud. But I decided I would much rather lose sleep and have my kids under my own roof, than loose sleep because I don't know where they are, or what they're doing. Ya know?
So, after I'd had all the fun with them that my 43-year-old body would allow, I went to bed. And I lay there not sleeping, rather listening to the squeals, stomping, banging, and laughter coming from the other end of the house. For hours I lay in my bed, falling asleep occasionally - only to be woken up by another scream, or round of laughter - and I thought about how happy I was that my kids were having fun.
I thought about how glad I was that my daughter wanted to spend the evening at home having fun with her friends, and how great it was that they'd included my boys in the party.
I recounted nights when I'd told the kids, as I was going to bed, "You need to keep the noise level down now, so I can sleep." And recalled Elizabeth's hopefulness and caution as she requested permission for this loud all-nighter. And her happiness when we said, Yes.
Then I closed my eyes, listened to the laughter, and tallied my "cool" points, while I didn't sleep. *smile*


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