Monday, November 21, 2011

Turning over some old leaves

I snuck around the corner with my camera, unaware that I was about to get blindsided.  Photographers often get attacked by their subjects, but I’d been lulled into a false sense of safety, perhaps due to the lack of grizzly bears in the area, or perhaps because I was in my living room.

My son Evan yelped as he scrambled around his little inflatable ball pit with his older cousin Jordyn.  “I’m going to get you, Evan!” Jordyn said, and Evan squealed with delight.

I crept into the room slowly, as to not alert my quarry.  As the camera came up to my eye, Evan spotted me.  He stopped playing and looked distressed.

“Aw, he’d rather I joined in the fun,” I thought.

“Go ‘way, Daddy,” Evan said.  My heart, and then my camera, dropped.  I thought he wasn't supposed to
talk to me like that until he was a teenager.  My demotion from Hero of the Universe to Embarrassing Loser Who Follows Me Around happened about a decade sooner than I’d expected.

“Evan, that's not very nice,” I replied.

He looked away, and I could tell he felt bad about hurting my feelings.  He didn’t want to be not very nice.  Fortunately, I’d just taught him an important lesson about being polite.

After a few more beats, Evan looked back at me and said, “Pwease go ‘way, Daddy.”

It was an improvement of sorts, like putting fresh-grated parmesan on moldy pizza.

I couldn’t really blame him for wanting some uninterrupted time with his cousins, though.  Our house, which is normally the most boring place without CSPAN cameras, was buzzing with cousins last weekend for a family get-together.  Or beeping with cousins, rather than buzzing, since most of them spent a good deal of time gazing into various electronic devices.

“Do you have an iPod Touch?  An iPad?  A Wii?  A laptop?  What’s the password on the computer?” my little cousins asked as they scoured the house for entertainment.  Even the old Playstation2 in our basement, a relic of the Great Nerd Era of my early twenties, was unearthed.  If the microwave had a bigger digital display, the kids probably would have played that, too.

I’m pretty sure the kids all realized that I was part of the family, but it’s entirely possible they thought I was live-in tech support.

Of course, when I was a kid, I was equally entranced with video games, and back then, games consisted of four rectangles of various sizes moving around the screen, set to rhythmic monotone beeping.  If I was ten years old right now, I’d probably see less sunlight than your average slot machine.

Actually, the kids did break away from the video games for long enough to scrape together a leaf pile in the front yard.

“Weaf piyoh!  Weaf piyoh!” Evan yelled.  As far as I know, he’d never seen a leaf pile before, but it seems to be one of those things that come pre-loaded in the human brain under Things That Are Awesome, which consists mainly of the subfolder: Things I Can Jump In/On.

Before our guests arrived, I’d spent several hours blowing a Shenandoah’s worth of leaves off of our yard.  To assemble a decent leaf pile, the kids dragged the leaves back out, creating large trails as they walked their armloads across our property.  You have to respect the initiative of children who are willing to unrake a yard by hand.  Too bad I couldn’t figure out a way to harness that energy to get them to do my chores.

In the end, I was glad they did it.  Leaf fights are good for the soul.

When they were done, for the first time in at least a decade, I got to enjoy jumping around in a leaf pile, too.

Until Evan kicked me out.

You can rake Mike Todd off your yard at

1 comment:

  1. A+ post buddy! Especially seeing you jump in the leaves and pummel Evan! Happy Thanksgiving!