The Force is Strong with This One


Little VaderA few weeks ago, my wife asked The Animal what kind of birthday party he wanted to have, because, you know, you can’t just have a normal birthday party anymore. I think there’s a law or something.

“A fire-fire party!” he said, emphatically. [Translation: a firefighter party]

But then, just a few days later, he abruptly changed course: “I want a Darth Vader party!” Darth Vader? Where in heck did that come from? The kid had never even seen a Star Wars movie.

Cassie, who had already begun imagining the cute fire-engine-red decorations, was not pleased. “Darth Vader?” she said. “No, no…you said you wanted a…”

“Hey!” I interrupted. “You heard the kid. He says he wants a Darth Vader party. It’s his birthday, after all.”

You see, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was sort of a Star Wars nut. It all started when I was a grossly underpaid, country radio station copywriter, in the midst of a quarter-life crisis. Right around that time, the first of the new Star Wars prequels was released, and it rekindled something inside that I hadn’t felt since I was a kid. Once again I had a reason to live!

Suddenly I was spending the majority of the workday on eBay bidding for vintage toys , and it wasn’t long before my apartment was transformed into a veritable Star Wars museum. Fortunately I already had a steady girlfriend.

Proud PapaIn time I matured and grew out of my childish hobby – thank goodness – but I never fully got over the obsession. So when my son said he wanted a Darth Vader birthday, I was overcome with excitement.

For him, I mean.

Since neither of my kids had ever seen the movies, I felt it my fatherly duty to educate them on this staple of popular culture. So, the week before the birthday party, I made them…er…I mean, I let them watch the original Trilogy a couple times. It wasn’t long before they were fully indoctrinated into George Lucas’ magical world.

“Look, Daddy!” my son said while watching The Empire Strikes Back. “That’s Yoga!”

“Hmmm, yeeess!” I responded. “Downward dog, I will do.” Unfortunately the joke  was completely lost on him.

“It’s not Yo-GA,” Boogieface corrected him. “It’s Yo-DA!”

I was never so proud to be a father.

I am their fatherOn the day of his birthday, I was…I mean…The Animal was giddy with anticipation. Cass dressed up Boogs like a little Princess Leia, and I even dug out my old Darth Vader costume from the basement, soley for my son’s benefit, of course.

Then, right before the party, I gave both kids brand new plastic light sabers, which sent them running around the house like two little Jedis-in-training. I was beaming. (Note to parents: It might not be the best idea to give a large, sword-like weapon – plastic or not – to a rambunctious 3-year-old with little or no depth perception.)

The party itself was all that I dreamed it would be. For my son, I mean. We sang “Happy Birthday” to the tune of “The Imperial March”, devoured a Star-Wars-themed cake, and then adjourned to the living room where The Animal tore into his pile of presents like a Rancor at an Ewok convention. (Google it.)

When it was all said and done, my boy had a treasure trove of new Star Wars toys. And just think, we were that close to having a bunch of boring firetrucks to play with.

For my son to play with, that is.

One Response to "The Force is Strong with This One"
  1. Another well-written (and very accurate) portrayal of what happens during the day-to-day at our house. It’s like living the dream…