My son Mark turned 12 during lockdown.
He got Risk, the board game (deluxe version)
A pencil sketch of a selfie photo
A handful of books on war and disasters
$6 from his brother to spend on anything
and 3 Xbox discs that will probably join the others
that are too embarrassing to have friends over to play
because everyone else has gun games
There was no party to cancel
when social distancing became a thing
since none had been planned.
I had suggested a river hike and a campfire —
I could feel him trying to decide
if that was cool enough.
We ordered 3 pizzas from the expensive place
and walked down to pick them up,
savoring the rebel thrill of
touching a germ-covered door
and walking in to see people,
the kitchen still a hive of activity.
Stores were out of sugar
but his sisters found two 1-lb. Domino canisters
and made him yellow cupcakes
with blue buttercream icing and purple sprinkles.
The only thing on his birthday list
that he didn’t get
was a phone.
His sisters didn’t get one ’til they were 14,
and though trends have shifted,
we decide to wait a little longer.
I used to run into other middle school parents
who would tell me,
‘Every 6 months they go without a phone is a victory,’
but since we are almost the only ones over here,
I wonder what we’ve won.
To celebrate, Mark wanted us all to watch a movie together.
We don’t do that much anymore.
A Marvel or Avengers film
would be more his style,
but he was OK with Enchanted.
It’s rated for 6 years and up, and
what’s a party if all the guests can’t come?