Thursday, June 24, 2010
Cloudy With A Chance Of Rad
Every Friday in my oldest son's class, they have show and tell. Kids can bring whatever they like, but they're encouraged to bring something related to their topic for that week. Usually, this is no challenge. Transportation? Walk blindfolded through either of my kid's rooms (not advised) and you're likely to injure your foot on a transportation-related toy a few steps in. Space? We got that covered. Farm animals? No problem. Dinosaurs? Pshaw.
So this week, their topic is clouds, those big fluffy masses that float above our heads and occasionally dump all over creation. All week long, every chance he gets, the kid's been asking me what he should take, what he should take, "what should I take, Daddy?" and I kept repeating a slightly dismissive "we'll find something, we'll find something."
Finally, one evening on the couch, the tone of desperation in the kid's voice arced upwards towards panic levels. But still, I didn't know what to tell him. I thought surely he had a cloud-related book or a toy or maybe a picture or a...a picture! "Buddy, I got an idea."
I already had Wednesday off and was planning on spending it with him. The plan was to drive out to the summer camp where I worked during the summers of my teenage years and meet up with an old friend of mine who was out there with his son.
"Check this out, buddy. How about you take your camera out to the camp when we go, you take some pictures of clouds, and you can take those pictures to show to your class? What do you think of that?"
I liked this idea. I liked it a lot. It involved an actual activity, not just grabbing an object out of his room. And there's the fact that I thought of it. I was excited and I thought he should be too. And after I explained to him how the whole process worked, getting the pictures off of his camera, onto my computer, and printed out on paper, he was.
So that's what we did. He brought his camera and snapped some pics in the car and some out in nature when we arrived. When we got home and I was looking over the pics he'd taken, I tell you, I teared up a little. It's not that his little 3 megapixel images were especially profound. It's that they exist at all, that he made them, that he went and documented a little bit of the world as he saw it. And that I was along for the ride.
I'll be goddamned if this parenting gig doesn't toss you some nice easy slow balls sometimes. Every now and then, you get to feel like a minor genius for a couple of seconds.