Thursday, May 13, 2010

Six Years Old And Preparing To Soar

For the last couple of weeks or so, whenever I have had the privilege of walking my children to school in the morning, I have also had the privilege of having to stand idly by while Michael and Nicholas, curious as they are, walked over to my son's little kindergarten playground to see the bird's nest. Apparently, a rather "fat" pigeon was perched in said nest protecting her eggs.

Yesterday the eggs and the "fat" pigeon were no longer there. I'm not really sure what happened to them, and it really made the boys quite sad.

Yesterday also happened to be my son's 6th birthday. He'd been telling me for months that one of the things he wanted most was to be taken to Disneyland by me on his birthday; we never had before. So, not having to ask me twice about going to Disneyland, I dropped off the other boys with their mom and drove the 40 minutes to Anaheim for his birthday celebration.

I really can't explain why we did what we did next. Typically, California Adventure is the place the kiddies love to play because many of the attractions there are geared towards the smaller kids. Some of their favorites are there. But for whatever reasons (neither he nor I had ever expressed an interest in riding this one; at least, not together), the first attraction (at Disney, they're attractions, not rides!) we partook in was 'Soarin' Over California' (basically a flight simulation where you fly, or "soar" if you like, over some of California's most beautiful scenery -- it really is an amazing attraction; it comes highly recommended!).

However, I was a little bit worried about him. I knew that if he ever got on the attraction, he would love it, but in the meantime, there was plenty of line and time ahead of us for him to get himself worked up in. Sure enough, within minutes I looked down at my little man and saw his eyes drop to the floor. I asked him what was wrong, and with little tears trickling from his eyes, and little lips quivering, I could barely hear him as he mumbled to me, "Daddy, I'm scared." And while a part of me felt the almost overwhelming desire to take him out straightaway, instead I knelt down beside him and held him close to me and told him he'd be okay, and that I'd always be there to take care of him. I told him there was nothing to be afraid of.

For the next half hour or so, we meandered through the lines, me pointing out all the pilots' pictures on the wall, and all of the pictures of the planes. I was trying anything to keep him mellow. The entire time, though, I was wrestling with myself. It was only a ride (not an attraction at this point in the game, but a ride!). Was I doing the right thing? Was it worth frightening him?

At one point, he made a last ditch effort to get out of line using the "bathroom" excuse, but again I reassured him instead of letting him get out of line (thank God he didn't really have to pee!). Before you knew it, we were listening to Mr. Patrick Warburton (love that guy!) give us our last minute pre-flight instructions, I was buckling him into his seat, and we were off.

Aside from the running monologue I kept giving him on the flight (to encourage him) it was a quiet flight. I kept glancing over at him to see his reactions, but for the most part, I just listened to what his hand was saying. It never left his daddy's the entire time. On the parts where we glided, he relaxed. On the parts where we flew fast, he squeezed and held me tight. And in the end, when we left our seats and I asked him what he thought of it, my son soared.

And I couldn't help but think of the "fat" pigeon and her little eggs, and how if they had been left to their devices they would have eventually become little birds in their own right, at first scared, but then later ready to take flight. And I can't help but think that my little boy is growing up. He's in the pre-flight himself, and one day soon he'll be ready to soar completely on his own. He won't need my hand to hold and squeeze anymore.

But until that day comes, Daddy will be right there to hold that hand anytime he wants, and we can soar together.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Never Ending Saga of an aspiring Space Ranger

Growing up, I knew that I was something special. I felt within the very core of my being a "force", if you will. At a very early age, I realized just what that "force" was when I watched Star Wars for the first time at the tender age of 2. What my parents were thinking taking such a mere babe to such a mind-numbingly influential flick is quite beyond me, but nevertheless it set me on a course towards which the end-result would undoubtedly be my attaining Jedi Knight, and later Master, status.

Alas, anyone who knows me will agree with me that this did not happen. Although Yoda and I share much in common (we both have hair in very odd places), the Jedi career never quite panned out.

So, in a stroke of genius I have recently decided to cut short my dream of becoming a Jedi in the hopes of becoming just like my other hero in life, Buzz Lightyear. What can be said about Buzz that hasn't been said before? Flashing lights and a nameplate on his chest. Rapidly expanding wings on his back. Yelling out "To Infinity, and Beyond!" on a moment's notice. And apparently if I follow his lead I can eventually have a reset button in my battery compartment that when pressed will immediately make me fluent in Spanish. It's not exactly C-3PO's "6 million forms of communication", but it's a start!

So without further ado, I immediately proceeded to Disneyland to begin my training with Buzz. As can be seen by the pictures I have provided as evidence, if my competition doesn't become somewhat stiffer, I should have no problems attaining the rank I so desire with Star Command.

taken at roughly 1600 hours, 03 May, 2010

taken at roughly 1615 hours, 03 May, 2010

So, as can be seen, we see significant improvement in score and use of trigger finger in a very short span of time. I can only surmise this means that I am indeed Space Ranger material, and I was born with an innate ability to rapidly shoot Emperor Zurg in the chest over and over again. Even Star Command's feeble attempt to throw me from my game by providing me with a weapon on which my laser was set a full 2 feet beneath my sights was useless and laughable.

So, I hope to continue to update this as time warrants. One can only hope that this dream, unlike my Jedi dream, will pan out and that one day I will be leading the charge alongside my friend Mr. Lightyear against the evil Emperor Zurg, sworn enemy of all we hold dear.

If not, I hear they are looking for a new elevator operator at the Hollywood Tower Hotel.