This is MY Office
My wife, Lisa, and I gave our three-year-old son, Zachary, my old laptop computer yesterday. Until yesterday, he’d been using – and abusing – Lisa’s computer in her office. He started pounding on the keyboard about a year and a half ago. Over time, he watched us using it, emulated us and now can use the computer like a pro. Well, okay, at least he knows how to click the mouse while using his various games. I still worry he’ll accidentally delete all the files on the hard drive.
After we put Zachary’s younger sister, Sarah, to bed, I set up the laptop on our kitchen table. Lisa distracted Zachary in the other room while I set everything up.
Timed perfectly, Lisa told Zachary that we had a present for him. I could hear the pattering of his bare feet on our hardwood floors as he came running into the kitchen. He saw me sitting at the kitchen table in front of the computer. His face lit up and he screamed a joyous smile.
“This is your computer,” I told him. “This is Zachary’s computer,” I repeated, removing the pronoun. Pronouns can be pretty tough for kids.
“This is MY computer!” Zachary exclaimed.
“Yes, that’s right,” Lisa and I were both happy to agree.
I pulled Zachary up and sat him on my lap. He immediately began playing the game I had selected for him, Mr. Potato Head. While playing the game, he must have said, “This is MY computer” a dozen times. He was ecstatic. I snuck my head around the side of his head to glance at the joy on his face. His eyes were wide open, focused on the screen. The corners of his mouth were turned up in just a hint of a smile. His face, his whole being somehow seemed even more alive than usual.
After a while, we heard his familiar cry, “Where are my CDs?” My kid doesn’t walk around with a security blanket; he walks around with a security stack of CDs. It’s true. He even sleeps with them. Carries them everywhere.
Accuse me of playing the role of The Proud Parent, sure, but my kid’s a genius. I’m serious. I’ll tell you this: he can distinguish between music CDs, computer CDs and movie CDs (DVDs). The kid’s a genius, I’m telling you.
He located his stash and brought them to the table. A few nifty shuffling moves later, he found his next game. Every ten minutes, he’d move to the next CD, like he usually does.
Out of the blue, between CD changes, Zachary – my glorious, glorious son – pauses, ponders and says of the kitchen, “This is MY office!” “It’s not Momma’s office, it’s not Daddy’s office… it’s Zachary’s office.”
I’m not sure why, but this struck me as incredibly funny at the time. It still does upon a bit of reflection. Who knows how I’ll feel about it ten or twenty years from now, when I re-read this account of events (assuming I can find a computer to read such an old file!). All I know is that I was, an am, so proud of my son. I am always, but at that moment, my pride crystallized as it has before and will undoubtedly will again.
I sure hope I remember the events of yesterday, when my son got his first computer. And amazed his father again with his clever mind and childlike enthusiasm. I sure hope I remember that when I sit down for dinner, I’m not just sitting at a kitchen table – I’m sitting at Zachary’s desk, in Zachary’s office.