And so it was decided that we would host a Jedi Training Academy at the temple otherwise known as my parents' backyard. Since it has already been a firefighter training academy (shhh, we've got a thing going here), construction site, a bouncy ball dance hall, and unintentional swamp (which made for one soaking we, frostinged first birthday party), we knew that it would take little more than a raise of the hand and stare indicative of real Force concentration by a mommy and grandparents to make the transformation.
[Many soul-stirring geeked out, funny photos to follow after the jump.]
The first step was deciding which of the wee ones were primed for Master training.
The second step was to watch our family and friends take daring steps with the Rebel Alliance or turn startlingly toward the Dark Side.
The third step was to take 7,000 of Lil E's ideas that involved importing real, live Storm Troopers, lasers, some kind of AT-AT Walker, blown-up Death Star bits and a token Ewok in a net trap into an obstacle course that would simulate the stunts and skills every Jedi needs.
That course involved an exhibition of light saber skills, winding through a laser field, hi-yah-ing through a brick wall, rescuing a displaced Yoda from a tree, surviving a trash compacter shake-up, and crawling through a tunnel to safely re-board the X-Wing Fighter.
The fifth step was to celebrate with cake and wishes for many opportunities to knock the helmets off those pesky Storm Troopers.
The sixth step was to duel, duel, duel. Take a break to buddy up. Then duel, duel, duel.
The final count was seven Lukes, four Leias, a Clone Trooper, two Vaders and an Amadala.
But the best number was Five, smeared in icing across the face of my own Master Luke, marked up in grass stains on his knees and the half-smile of a blissful boy completely in his element. There is a lot ahead of him, I know. But piloting all that waited while we pretended to take on the universe for one fabulous day.
Even in the presence of the darkest, most obliterated worlds, Lil E will press the button on his light saber, hold it high in triumph and yell out, "GLOW IT UP!"
And that day, we all played along...and played along...and played along. Until we were happy and exhausted.