Ollie is very clear: when he grows up, he wants to be a knight.
Now, what a knight does exactly is a little less clear. He’s aware that it involves, 1) having a shield, and 2) fighting bad guys and/or dragons. And that’s enough; sign him up.
Grandpa Ron made him a wooden sword and shield set for his birthday. “You better make a set for Evelyn,” we said, “she’s going to need to defend herself.” So he ended up making two sets. So far, no smashed fingers. (We should also have made sets for ourselves, as well as laptops, coffee cups, walls, doors, the piano…) (The cat, on the other hand, can fend for herself.)
A brave knight defends his lady
Given his fascination with knights, there was really only once choice for his birthday: Medieval Times.
My best friend’s mom took me to Medieval Times when I was a kid and it left an indelible mark on my soul. For the next 20 years of my life I literally bounced in my car seat every time we drove by the castle. I think it’s safe to say that it’s going to have a similar impact on the kids. They had a BLAST (the grownups too). It was so much fun to go with them and experience it through their eyes.
The day began with a “summons” from the king, requesting Ollie’s presence. Sara rolled it up like a scroll and tied it with some yarn. She put it outside the front door, knocked, and ran away.
I never in a million years imagined that Ollie would fall for this so spectacularly. He was absolutely convinced that a messenger from the king had left it for him. He carried it around all day and even brought it with us to the castle, “in case the king wanted to see it”. I think Ollie thought they wouldn’t let us in without the invitation.
Ollie seemed a little bit overwhelmed by everything, and spent most of the show just staring, slack-jawed. I was so glad I ended up sitting next to Evie. She had the time. of. her. life. The two of us cheered and cheered until our voices were hoarse. She was 100% invested in the show. I kept looking over to Sara, like, “are you watching this?”
I don’t think either of them knew what to expect, and it just kept getting better and better. Each new aspect was like Christmas and Easter and a birthday party wrapped in one, tied in a bow with a puppy on top. Just standing in the extended-gift-shop-turned-waiting-area was worth the trip as far as they were concerned. Ollie talked to a real knight with a real sword in his belt. Then we were doing “cheers” with soup bowls. Then there were dancing horses, and a princess, and a falcon flying over our heads, and cheering our lungs out and nobody telling us we were being too loud. And just when it couldn’t get any better, there was fighting, real fighting, with lances breaking, and people diving off of horses, and sparks coming off swords…
Evie said repeatedly it was the greatest night of her life. I believe her, too. If her eyes were shining any more, she could have seen in the dark.
Needless to say, it was a very, very successful birthday.