Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fatherhood And My Son's Kindle

It's kinda curious.  For all the technology I live and breath, put me in an empty room with an IPAD and after a few minutes of browsing, I'm bored.  I've tried to wile away the hours on the Internet, but I can't.  I'm just not built that way.  Even the games and downloads lose me fairly quickly. 

My son, on the other hand, is an altogether different creature.  He somehow wrangled us into allowing him to use his own (birthday) money to buy a Kindle.  And at the age of eight, he is already bumping heads with his fifteen minute daily allotment.  He carries the little device in it's dark blue case around the house like a trophy.  He may be limited in minutes, but no one can deny him the pleasure of feeling the weight underneath his wanting hands.

For him, the tiny screen frames a world of wonder and technology.  It's not just the games, but Google Earth, Wikipedia, and a vast marketplace for all those lovely objects his rambuctious boy mind desires.  It's a destination unto itself filled with both learning and shiny sparkling objects. 

It is what his heart desires above all else.

He takes the Kindle everywhere.  He lugs it to the grocery store, paws it at Home Depot, and cradles it before violin practice.  It's always by his side.

The other night after a long shopping trip, we gathered the kids together for an evening bath.  My son ran into the room frantic.

Mommy, Daddy...where's my Kindle?

An exhaustive search of the house lead to a startling conclusion.  We must've left it in the shopping cart at Target.  My son twisted his hands in knots waiting for me to connect to the lost and found.  Nothing!

As I lay awake that night, I listened to him toss and turn in the adjacent room.  Occasionally he would jump out of bed and search an odd drawer or basket.  The next morning he crawled into bed between my wife and I.  His eyes full of tears, he nestled into my arms.

As silly as it sounds, I hurt for him.  I hurt for his little boy hopes and dreams.  I mourned for the exquisite suppleness of inexperience.  Of course I could buy him another kindle (which would have taught him nothing), but I can't protect him from the hardships of growing up.  I couldn't protect myself.

There will be fights, both physical and mental.  There will be disappointments and broken promises.  There will be somatic and emotional pain.  And like the heart extirpated wildly from my chest, I will have little control over his destiny, yet will feel each horrible prick.  

I am like my son, and he is like my Kindle.

I am starting to lose him already. 


srcummings said...

As an older father of an only six year old boy your post really hits home for me. But i'm sure that he understands your empathy for him and you are taking advantage of this teachable moment. Keep up the great writing.

Kathy Nieder said...

Such an important lesson for both of you. Your story brought back so many memories. You are obviously cherishing those moments that go so fast. Good for you--he'll be grown and living in San Francisco before you know it (just like mine).