My youngest child just turned nine years old. For the last nine years he has still been attached by the umbilical cord to my wife, allowing little to no room for her to so much as breathe. Occasionally he will go with me somewhere without her, but he is mostly a homebody.
Now he does get out, so don’t get me completely wrong. He is a purple belt in tae kwon do and has class twice a week. He has one particular friend named Matthew that he enjoys playing with either at our house or Matthew’s. But for the most part, other than that, he prefers to stay home and near my wife.
Like many his age he enjoys video games. He enjoys playing with Legos and building structures that I am very impressed with. Even his video games involve building as he is a master at Minecraft. For those unfamiliar, Minecraft is the digital equivalent of what we had as a sandbox. You restructure the land to make and build whatever you want. We used wet sand to make caves and road courses for our Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars, he uses a digital pickaxe to make caves in pixelated rocks and construct giant castles.
So in picking out a birthday gift it is very easy. Either some type of game or a new Legos kit would be the first thing to come to mind. However, he fooled me. He wanted a fishing rod; a grown up fishing rod to be more precise. He did not want the closed reel. No, he wanted a spinning reel. To make sure I picked out the right one we went to the store over the weekend and looked at various ones. We shopped, just me and the little man, trying to find one that was just right.
“Do you like this one?” I would ask.
“What do you think Daddy?” he would answer.
I would then go over some of the features and it would get lost in his head somewhere. But he was curious. Then we spotted one that had a small tackle box attached with different types of baits commonly used for panfish. And then he saw my favorite bait. The beetle spin was all the assurance he needed to know that this rod, reel, and tackle box is exactly what he wanted.
We discussed as we walked out of the store where we could go fishing together and of course when we could go together. We talked about the youth bow I still had at the house that his brother and sister learned how to shoot with. He asked if I thought he was big enough to shoot it now that he was turning nine. I told him we could certainly try it out, and if he could pull it back we could go bowfishing soon too.
For the last week he comes up to me after his homework (and sometimes during) and pulls back the bow. His form isn’t perfect and we do not have it set up yet, but he pulls it back every night regardless. There is an excitement hidden behind his young eyes much like the time I carried him fishing for the first time several years ago. It is part experiencing something new, and part making daddy proud.
I am hoping my wife is enjoying this brief reprieve of Cooper being latched to her. I know I am enjoying this moment of Daddy-itis he is displaying. I am enjoying the experience of something new and he is certainly making me proud.