I did face-painting at my kids’ school yesterday — the sweetest gig in all of Fun Day.
For my troubles, I got a tent in the shade, a comfy plastic chair, and little to no banshee screaming.
My hottest request of the day was for the handlebar mustache and monocle. I’m not sure how kids even know what a monocle is, but man, did they want one.
Perhaps it’s some newfound desire to look older and more sophisticated, to rise above the little-kid realms where cheeks are adorned with lame-o butterflies and rainbows.
We’re getting past all that, I guess. We’re moving on to facial hair.
And more than that, we’re moving on to middle school.
My oldest, Will, is “graduating” from elementary school tomorrow.
On the face of it, moving from 4th grade to 5th isn’t that cool of a milestone.
I mean, it’s no testament to Will’s strength of character that he survived the mean streets of elementary school and learned his times tables.
But this kind of transition is just teeming with heightened nostalgia for saps like me who feed on this stuff.
Every event of spring has been met with the opening line, “Awwww, Will, this’ll be your last Author’s Tea!” or “This is your last class party!” or “This is the last time you’ll ever sing ‘Be All You Can Be!’” (the school song with the fist-pumping hand gestures and the self-esteem tropes that gets me every time).
To which, Will yawns.
Whatever. The kid’s moving on.
It’s gonna take me a little longer.
Which brings me back to face-painting – and the prize awarded for the weirdest request of the day.
I was taking a picture of the painted dragon wrapped around my daughter Lucy’s arm (which she soon wished was a mustache) when I noticed a little bitty third-grader in the background.
On each of her toothpick arms was painted nothing less than a nunchuck.
This was what she wanted.
This sweet little 3rd grader wanted big awesome nunchuck skills.
I’m kicking myself from here to yonder that I didn’t take a picture to show you, because you would die laughing.
These kids are growing up. They’re arming themselves for the future.
Just give ‘em a five o’clock shadow and some nunchucks, and look at that…they’re ready to take on the world.