Today is my son’s fifth birthday. You only turn five once. I’m pulling out all the stops. He does not know jazz, but tonight he will learn. Jazz will be performed live in our two-bedroom apartment by Sonny and the New Horizons, a band that enamored me from the moment I heard them serenade New York City’s Times Square Subway escalators.

Guests are forbidden from bringing presents. Jazz is a gift in itself. I’ve invited guests like John, Jack, Salem, Jack B, Lizzie, Marge, Dave, and Noah. I know them, so I can vouch for their ability to engage with jazz. These people are my closest friends. I have not met my son’s friends, so they are not invited.

My son will not be alone. He will be allowed to converse with Tyler Ramone, a ten-year-old boy and the son of Lizzie. Tyler Ramone is a child, so I’m confident he’ll connect with my son. They have ample life to reflect upon.

I collaborated with my son on the decor. He suggested Minecraft plates, but I dutifully informed him that minimalism would be best. Banners, symbols, and special plates call too much attention from the jazz. What would we do if a rouge paper ‘H’ fell on a performer? My five-year-old son needs to understand that a “Happy Birthday” could lead to an unhappy lawsuit.

Our party has a black tie dress code, courtesy of my guidance. My son selected his very own Happy Birthday temporary tattoo to be placed on his wrist. It’s a little reminder that it’s his day. I like to provide these freedoms.

Once everyone has arrived, we will collectively listen to jazz in motionless silence. If my son chooses to dance, I plan to remove him. If Tyler Ramone dances, he shall be forgiven. Who am to interrupt the wisdom he may be trying to impart upon my son?

My son is allowed to bring toys, but they must be ones that my friends understand like the Monopoly thimble or Lincoln Logs. He should not make his guests feel weird at his birthday party.

When we’ve attempted to observe live music in the past, my son wasted our time with questions like, “Is the man with the stick stopping them from singing?” and “Dad, why can’t I remove this chair from the row? I’m strong.” This is shallow and unbecoming. Now that he’s matured into a five-year-old, it’s time to shirk such reactions. Tonight, right to my face, I’m confident he’ll say, “I enjoyed the arpeggio.”

Halfway through the night, I will provide my son with a $20 bill. He must use this to tip the musicians. I will not tell him to do this. It should be a natural response. If the $20 is spent any other way, my son has failed me. Additionally, I expect my five-year-old to reimburse me for the tip. I’m certain he knows how to raise money. How else could he so confidently break his toys?

As the performers wind down, my friends and I will form a circle to discuss Columbo. For the first time, my son shall be invited to this circle. Although we have not watched Columbo together, any human being has seen Columbo. I’m certain my five-year-old son will make a joke about Columbo’s wife. I will laugh. I support him.

The party shall conclude with a seven-layer chocolate cake. Five candles will be placed on a cake for my son to blow out. Slices will be distributed to everyone except for my son. It’s never too early to learn what you can give to others.