Stop Motion

My son, Noah, has shown yet again just how innovative he . . . and technology . . . can be.

Let me start, though, by telling you how my afternoon every day this week has been spent finishing up work then getting home to a flurry of interrogatives.  Not that they’re difficult ones.  No “Train A leaves the station at 50mph and Train B leaves at 70mph going toward each other what time do they meet?”  No.  It’s usually . . . “Hey Dad, can I tell you something?!”

After the question – which I usually follow with “could I really stop you?” – said child begins talking.  And talking.  And talking.  In the middle of the story, which sometimes is really interesting but more often is the entire plot of every chapter of their latest book, the other two siblings come in.  Most times that’s “can I tell you something funny that just happened on Spongebob?”  My response to that is usually “no.”

Lately, I’ve heard Abbi’s whole story about what happened in drama class.  Last night it involved their improvisation exercises and how she “had” to kiss a guy on the stage.  She shrugged it off acting like it was no big deal but her ears were red.

So here’s the thing.  It doesn’t bother me too much . . . it nags at me.  I am thrilled she had great improvisation – which she tells me she’s not good at doing – but I also have to swallow down the male tendency to be angry she’s kissed some guy.  I’m not naive.  She had a boyfriend last year.  She had one before him.  She’s responsible and loving and I cannot be the typical Dad who cleans his gun when the date shows up to get his daughter.  I have to be both Mom and Dad.  I wasn’t much older than her when I met her mother.

It’s that she’s growing up.  This tiny little girl who stood on the top of the steps to our house and had her shadow touching the street now is old enough to make decisions and take on responsibilities.  That wasn’t supposed to happen.  It certainly wasn’t supposed to happen this way, either. Not without her Mom.  I was processing this when my son, Noah came up and told me he’d made a cartoon, like the old stop motion claymation things.

On his Nintendo 3DS, there’s a way to do stop motion animation.  He spent all afternoon and most the night before dinner making it.  He took Legos and small characters from other toys and made them move, telling a story.  Now, no, it’s not Coraline or Nightmare Before Christmas but he’s also only 9.  For a 9-year-old to have this work out so damn well and have an actual story?  I’m floored.

So here I am watching them all grow up and I realize that the time I have left with them is actually pretty short.  Very short, in fact.  If I look at where the boys are now . . . I have about 8 years with them.  I’ll be 50 and the house will be empty.  The plans I had for the future could possibly still happen, but not the way I’d envisioned them 10 years ago.

It’s funny. I’m simultaneously proud and sad.  All 4 kids are growing up so quickly.

But then Sam comes up and says “I made a video too, Dad,” and shows me.  In it . . . a shot of the TV screen with Spongebob playing . . . while Sam narrates.

Maybe I have a little longer than I thought.

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