Like Father, Like Son

By Ben

 

 

There are any number of emotions and feelings that come with being a parent. The joy of seeing your child for the first time. The pride felt while watching them take their first steps. The frustration when they start talking back to you. You watch your children grow, you see them succeed, you catch them when they fall and through all of it, you wonder what they will be like as adults. What are they going to find interesting? What will their hobbies be? Will they be successful? Will they look back at their time with you with some of the fondest memories of their lives in their eyes? The funny thing about it, sometimes it’s the littlest things that make you take a step back and see yourself in your kids. For parents, often times just seeing a little character quirk, the way they smirk, a face they make, or the way they run that makes you think for a second you are looking into the past at an old home video of yourself. It’s those moments for me that are the best. It isn’t the major life events. It isn’t learning to ride a bike or tie his own shoes that I anticipate the most. For me it is something all the more simple.

 

Today I sat down with my son on the couch and plugged in the “classic genesis console unit” I bought from the store the other day. 80+ Genesis games stuck in that little machine. I turned it on, started playing some Sonic and Knuckles and played through the first Act. He had refused to play the games with me. He knows the more expensive electronics are off limits for him just yet, but even with permission I think he was a little nervous. So I played the game by myself. At 15 minutes in or so I realized that the only noise happening in the living room was the sound of the game and the clicking of buttons on the controller. I turned to my son. He was propped up on a cushion, leaning on one arm, his gaze transfixed on one event, Knuckles doing loops and collecting rings. He was enthralled. He watched this game in action like it was the most important experience in his young life. I rarely see him like that, so engrossed in something that he shuts everything else out and puts the “Back in 5 minutes” sign on the front door. To see him react like that to what very well may be his father’s favorite hobby was one of those moments that made me see the world from outside myself. He was locked in a trance with a video game. It sounds so simple. Then again, that’s what made it the moment it was.  For a moment I wasn’t just looking at my son, I was looking at myself.

He looked back and me and gave me this almost embarrassed goofy grin. I asked what he was doing. He smiled and said in a slight lisp, “Watchin’ you play Sonic.” That was it, that’s all he said. But it was the only thing he needed to say.

I’m a geek. I’m a gamer. I’m a father. It sounds so trivial, but there is nothing that makes me more proud than when my son recognizes a video game character. Or points out the fact that Darth Vader’s lightsaber is red, only red. He shares interests with me. In his own 5 year old way he geeks out about stuff. As a father there is nothing more that I could want but to be able to share something I’m so passionate about with my son. It’s a difficult thing to describe. Perhaps I just don’t know exactly how to word something like this. I see me. Even more, I see me rediscovering that which I have been so fond of for over 2 decades. I see a gamer being born. Out of his own doing, mind you. I never sat him down and played games in front of him to instill this. I never had a conscious thought about molding my son into being a gamer, and yet he managed to do it on his own. Chip off the ol’ block, I suppose.

I bring all this up because I hope that he and I will always have something in common. I want to be able to always have something that he and I can bond over, just the two of us.  I think that’s what every parent wants; the opportunity to share time with their child and to be able to enjoy some of the same interests. It’s been 5 years already. Time moves so quickly. I want to be able to share as much time with my son before he gets to that inevitable age where he decides it’s time to find his own path and become his own man. Until that day, he’s my little boy, my sidekick. Seeing him have such an interest in a past time his old man has enjoyed for so long gives me a lot of hope that I’ll be able to do just that.

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