One of the first rules of being a journalist is you must have a writing utensil on you at all times. Newspaper reporters are constantly fielding phone calls, and therefore taking notes. So anytime you see me, even when I’m “off duty” (as if there’s such a thing), I have a reporter’s notebook in my back pocket and a pen behind my right ear.
I was tying away on the laptop yesterday while sitting on the couch. Will was on the floor flipping through a book. Suddenly he glanced up at me and smiled, and then began pointing excitedly and shouting “Pezza, pezza!”
At first I thought he was asking for pizza, so I went to the fridge because I thought he might be hungry. But as soon as I stood up he immediately started saying “No dadda, no.” It took a few more rounds of me asking him what the hell he was saying before I figured out he was trying to say “pencil,” and reaching for the pen I had behind my ear. I figured because he’s become so fond of drawing and painting lately he wanted to hone his skills, so I got him some paper.
But he wasn’t interested in drawing. Instead, he took my pen and promptly wedged it behind his right ear. And then he flashed me the widest goddamn grin, pointed to the pen and said “See? Like Dadda.”
Apparently he wants to be overworked, underpaid and see all the fruits of his labor get hijacked by online news aggregators who steal content and give it away for free.
But seriously, it’s overwhelming and flattering when your son copies you. We all know how religious I am, and Genesis states, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him.” Of course, in that scenario I’d be comparing myself to the Almighty, which I think we can all agree is pretty accurate. But if you doubt my abilities as Creator, you could also draw parallels to Frankenstein’s Monster. Then again I’d be a mad scientist and Will would be the grossly disfigured, 7-foot-tall reanimated corpse. He is a pretty big kid, so maybe I’m onto something.
Either way, there’s this little being in my house who I am in charge of shaping and molding. And for some reason (most likely because I’m one of two adults he sees on a regular basis) he is going to strive to be like me and act like me. Just like I derived so much of who I am from my father, I now have a 3-foot-tall toddler who’s copying my every move. And this time, instead of repeating an errant swear I accidentally let loose, he was doing something incredibly cute and heart-warming. And in that moment, me looking at him and him smiling back at me, I was nearly moved to tears by the enormity of it all.
Then he threw the pen at me.
Oh well, I’ll take my moments however I can get ’em.