Tag Archives: Mario

The Drawing Power of Mario

Oh, how I miss that cute smile!

Oh, how I miss that cute smile!

Look who brightened up our usually lonely weekend! It always does my heart good to spend time with my beloved baby boy.

Back in his usual spot on our game room futon

Back in his usual spot on our game room futon

And look who joined him last Saturday night! My younger son lured my “third son,” Chase, for a quick visit from Rice University with the promise of their favorite Nintendo 64 game, Super Smash Brothers.

Will Donkey Kong rule?

Will Donkey Kong rule?

I love how well the two of them get along and all the fun that they have. Of course, they’ve known each other most of their lives. If my older son could have joined them, I would’ve been 100 percent happy.

But I guess two out of three ain’t bad.

(Singing the song? I know I am!)

Wii U, Bowling, Thomas, and Pokémon

Chase and my older son laugh while playing the Wii U.

Chase and my older son laugh while playing the Wii U.

So what does a kid do when he’s on the cusp of turning 21?

If you’re my kid, you party with your besties. And by “party,” I mean go bowling.

Just like when you were seven years old.

Celebrating with us last Saturday were Josh and my “third son,” Chase, who both drove home from Houston (where they attend the University of Houston and Rice, respectively), and Tanner, who is on a sabbatical from Texas State. Because the guys were going to warm up with some Wii U videogames, my older son informed me that it’s best to only have five people (which included his little but bigger bro) to man the four Wii-motes and one Game Pad.

Who doesn’t know that? (Yes, I am raising my hand!)

The brothers show their different bowling styles.

The brothers show their different bowling styles.

After that we moved on to our local bowling alley for two hours of fun (the Mister and I watched, of course). The guys laughed, groaned, cheered, and kidded each other. Josh decided to experiment and try to throw a perfect curve down the alley for one game. He sadly found out what happens when bowling balls don’t turn.

Such unusual names!

Such unusual names!

As befitting the day before his big birthday, my older son bowled his two best games ever: A 142 and a 165. He throws the ball so hard that I always fear the pins will break in two. Thankfully, the pins stayed intact, and my sweet boy was rewarded, much to the chagrin of little bro (aka Beowulf), who usually is the better bowler. Unfortunately, he struggled but still tried to be a good sport . . . when he wasn’t complaining about it.

Tanner gives my boy a high five after a strike.

Tanner gives my boy a high five after a strike.

Having worked up an appetite, the boys were ready for dinner, which was at one of my son’s favorite local restaurants, Willie’s. Then we went back to our house for more gaming and Ultimate Uno.

Ah, sweet nostalgia!

Ah, sweet nostalgia!

Finally, it was time for dessert, which was a cookie cake. I pulled out some ancient paper plates from the cabinet, featuring two of the birthday boy’s childhood favorites: Pokémon and Thomas the tank engine.

“How long have you had these?” he asked.

Probably 13 or 14 years. I knew they’d come in handy one day!

Blowing out his 21.

Blowing out his 21

Once the guys polished off the cake (precisely cut by Chase), the Mister and I bade the boys good night. Although it was getting late for us (11 p.m.), we knew the gang had more videogames to play, plus a midnight stop at iHop to ring in my older son’s special day.

Tanner, Josh, Chase, and my two boys pose after bowling.

Tanner, Josh, Chase, and my two boys pose after bowling.

The next afternoon I asked my now 21-year-old if he had enjoyed his celebration, and he said he definitely did. Is there anything better than having a good time with friends and family who know you best? He’s been pals with Chase since kindergarten, Tanner since third grade, and Josh since fourth, and they still have fun getting together and acting like they still are in elementary school.

Good thing he’s not heavy!

Good thing he’s not heavy!

There’s nothing like being 21 going on 7, as long as you’re surrounded by friends and your little bubba!

A Past Nondecision Sparks a Discussion

“Go away, Mom!”

My younger son walked into my home office yesterday and said, “I don’t want to make you feel bad, but . . . .”

At that moment, I flinched and wondered what horrible thing (in his mind) I had done that he was going to rag at me about this time. Of course, there are so many of them when it comes to a 16-year-old boy and his mother who are home together all the live-long day. Sometimes just the fact that I’m within 50 yards of him is enough to make him clamp on a set of headphones and put me on permanent “ignore.” Guess I’m lucky he hasn’t taken a restraining order out on me . . . yet.

So I merely gazed into his gorgeous green eyes and waited for him to finish his opening sentence.

“Our gaming lives would have been better if you hadn’t bought that N64 as our first video-game system,” my beloved son continued. “The games are better for the Xbox and Playstation.”

The venerable Nintendo 64 game system, which my sons still use.

Really, son? You think I feel bad about that decision? Heck, I don’t even remember buying the N64! How in the world did it come into our lives?

My older son Skypes with his younger brother.

That evening my #2 son Skyped with his older brother, and they discussed the merits and demerits of their mom’s possible woeful decision . . . that she can’t even remember making. And even though my older son claims he has a terrible memory, guess who knew how the N64 became a permanent resident of our house . . . to be followed by the Nintendo Game Cube and Wii?

“It came with the minivan,” my #1 son reminded us.

Oh, of course! After the Mister and I bought our twin Mercury Villagers (his blue, mine red) in 1999, he surprised me by putting a now-obsolete entertainment package in Big Red (now Ancient Red). It contained a VCR and a small TV . . . and that ever-loving N64. We stuck with Nintendo after that because 1) Mom was too cheap frugal to buy another gaming system, and 2) the boys loved the Mario games. It stayed that way until my younger son earned his Xbox 360 (which he hardly uses, because apparently I’m the only mom in the world who doesn’t allow children to play M-rated games).

My younger son takes notes as he chats with his brother.

Fortunately for me, my collegian doesn’t agree that their gaming lives would’ve been improved with a different system. That didn’t surprise me—he does have a subscription to “Nintendo Power” magazine, after all!

But just in case I actually was feeling bad about sticking with Nintendo when other video-game systems beckoned, my younger son comforted me by saying, “If that’s the worse thing you’ve ever done for us, you’re doing okay, Mom.”

Whew! Glad he didn’t harangue me about trying to take his picture all the time. I’ve really got no defense for that one.

The College Farewells Begin

Chase talks to my #1 son as they watch a “Pokémon” episode.

Some things never change.

Like my “third son,” Chase, sitting in our family room, watching an episode of “Pokémon” on our TV. After all, he’s been coming over multiple times per week for the past 12 years.

My #1 son works the remote with some ice cream ready to be eaten nearby.

Like my #1 son making sure to DVR the “Pokémon” episodes and then waiting until Chase comes over so they can watch them—and make rude comments about them—together. I’ll sit and watch, too, just to hear what these two have to say. The show is so much funnier with their commentary.

Team Rocket—lovable, inept villains

Like Team Rocket, who always are the most-inept villains. Will they ever steal a Pokémon?

But some things have started to change. While Team Rocket continues to stir up mischief, the kids in our neighborhood are saying their final farewells and going off to college. Chase left for Rice University in Houston proper last Sunday. So last Saturday we wished him well by sticking with that good, old status quo. Watch that “Pokémon” episode. Laugh at some YouTube videos.

My three sons play a video game together.

And, finally, play video games. Oh, the number of hours my three sons have spent brawling with Mario and friends, skateboarding with Tony Hawk, and hitting home runs with Ken Griffey Jr.! When they close the door to our little game room, they enter a world that has just the right mix of fantasy and friendship.

I leave the boys alone (except to snap a photo or two) in the game room, but it always makes me smile when I hear them laughing. How quiet it’s going to be now that Chase is gone and my #1 son will be off to San Antonio this weekend.

My somber #2 son

And how lonely is it going to be for the one son who is left behind. True, he won’t have to share the game systems any more. But he also won’t get to enjoy the video game experience with his brothers. He might not like being an only child.

My #2 son loves ruining my photos!

Especially since he’ll still have me bugging him about taking photos. I’ll bet my #2 son will be looking forward to saying his own college farewells before long!