The amount of influence over your child’s decisions starts dropping from the moment they are born. The remembrance of that day is also the one where their opinion holds the highest sway. Mira is a girl that likes pink, and dresses, and make-up, and all the other girly things. Sonali and I realized that a sea of princess themed birthday parties awaited us and, in what might be our last victory, convinced her that this year we should have a Darth Vader themed birthday party.

Another personal goal for this birthday was extracting ourselves from the cycle of birthday party venues. Buck’s Sports Barn hit all the marks: nearby, new, and had a Star Wars themed party. The owner said that we would have a unique experience. The venue was a gym and he worked with local actors. The kids would both get to experience play time and get a show.

We were all in for a huge treat. For starters, the venue had ample room to play, which is the single most important feature for any young kids party. Ultimately that’s all that’s needed for kids to have a great time.

Buck’s had not setup a gym for kids to play. They had set it up to train Jedis, with a real life Jedi leading the charge (more on that later).

The young padawans started on the zip line.

Then it continued across a beam, up some blocks, across the rocks, and all the way to a rock wall. The padawans would have to use all of their strength to master the training and help each other conquer the course.

The training was complete none to soon. Princess Leia had been pursued by a Sith lord and required the new Jedis’ help in overpowering her foe.

The battle was long and tiring but the power of the light-side of the Force overwhelmed the dark and all became friends.

The epic battle had worn everybody out. Mira and all her friends really enjoyed being able to play out a story and act silly. Everyone had to refuel with pizza and cake.

This is the standard kid’s birthday progression: arrive, do a few activities, eat cake, leave. The team at Buck’s had a few surprises for us. First was the visit by Chewbacca that had the kids either super excited or super scared.

Then came the final show. It started innocently enough. The kids were lined up on the wall and our hosts asked Mira to come out to the mat. She was given only one instruction: “Stay still” (no small order for our child). She did, but our host was not satisfied; he asked 2 of her friends to join her.

Normally at a kid’s party, if someone asks you to be brave, there is often nothing to really be brave about. This was just a little different. He were going to jump the kids.

The birthday girl was not the only one to get this special treat. The birthday mom did too.