I don't ever want to forget the simple joys of fatherhood. Like talking to my kiddo. I love talking to him. Love hearing how his brain works and how his sense of the world has changed.
This morning, my son rolled into bed with me and started talking. He told me about a dream he had where he was fishing, and then there was something about gummy worms.
And then we talked about summer camp. And about the names for the different groups of kids - all named after different animals. Apparently, all of the animal names changed over the last year, and we mused about why that might have happened.
And we just talked about, I don't know, stuff. We just talked.
It matters to me that he's comfortable talking to me. I want to remind myself that I need to pay attention to him. Too often, I'll be talking to him while browsing on my phone. Everyone does it these days, it's what we do. It's part of our overwired, overstimulated world. But I'm trying to force myself to put the phone down more so I can listen to him.
He's nine now. He won't be nine forever. He's already two months past his ninth birthday. Ten months to go, and then he's ten. Then eleven. Then he's older and older and he's a different person completely.
I want to cherish this time I have with him right now, with this kid as he is right now. I love seeing his brain develop and his words become more refined and enriched.
When he goes to bed at night, he asks me questions. It happens every night. Right as I'm about to turn his light out, he starts with the questions. Simple silly ones. "Which fishie in that picture is your favorite? Do you like meerkats or ferrets more?"
Or he'll walk that fine line between profound and ridiculous. "Dad? What if there were monkeys all over the roof and they were just waiting for us to go to sleep, and then they ran all around our backyard?"
"Dad? What if there was a giant robot from space, and he picked up this whole entire house in his hand and took us away to space?"
Or sometimes he talks about things that happen during his day. Sometimes, he just needs to process the events of the day, and he uses me as a sounding board. I love playing that part. I always want to be his sounding board. I know that's going to change, but I always want him to know he can ask me the questions that he can't get out of his head. I'm always there for him.
"Dad? Can I ask you something?" That's how he starts the conversation.
I always answer the same way. "You can ask me anything, son."