Notice where “poop” lives in the equation.
y now my kids’ Lego prowess is well-established around here. No doubt if you follow the blog’s facebook page you’ve noticed the occasional pictures of my smiling children in front of a completed Lego project in your newsfeed at one time or another. One of our favorite projects was “The Shire” (as my kids call it), released in conjunction with “The Hobbit” at the end of last year. As always, when the project was done I snapped a quick picture (pics or it didn’t happen) to document the construction before the inevitable destruction.
Last week while at Comic Con, my friends and I decided to take in the sites outside the convention center (if for no reason other than to get away from the crushing throngs of people just for a moment). Although I did not bring my children, they’re still too young for Comic Con to be appropriate, I spent most of my time keeping an eye out for what might be appealing to them, rather than myself (a topic I’m kicking around for another blog post). As we walked around outside, breathing the fresh air and enjoying the sun on our faces, we came across a display in an open, public space that I immediately knew would resonate with my kids. There for everyone to see was a professionally made version of “The Shire”, only 20x the scale of the version Episode V and I made together months ago. It featured both the interior and exterior details exactly as the were in the store-bough set, including all the accessories, details and characters… only 20x bigger.
Naturally I had to take a picture and text it immediately back home for the kids to see.
I’ve seen these sorts of builds before. Most Lego stores have something like this on display, purely for the WOW-factor. The Lego store at Disneyland has some pretty impressive constructs, as you might imagine. But I’ve never had the opportunity to inspect them close up… to run my hands over them. As it turns out, this construct wasn’t a styrofoam mock-up. It wasn’t sculpted out of plaster to look like it was made of Legos. This was *ACTUALLY* built from the itty-bitty Legos parents with kids of a certain age have all over the house. As I took in the workmanship the thought occurred to me, “Man. Someone actually had to build this. This was someone’s job. Someone got PAID to build this. We’ve all had those fantasies before:
“If only I could be a professional shopper.”
“If only I could be paid to play video games all the time.”
“If only it was my job to travel the country and sample chocolate chip cookies.”
There before me was the realization of someone’s dream along those exact same lines. “If only I could build Legos for a living.” Lego actually employs “Master Builders”. Their entire job is to create… sometimes on a micro-scale, sometimes ginormous. They travel around to expos, store opening and special events to show off Legos and all the amazing things they can do. These are the people who dream up the ginormous builds that spread virally on the internet, as well as the more practical builds that get sent off to retail stores.
Needless to say, those jobs are very hard to come by. You have to be incredibly talented, the screening process is grueling, and you have to be in the right place at the right time. As I looked at that gigantic Shire build out in the middle of a San Diego public park, it seemed to me that for every rockstar Master Builder there has to be dozens of mid-level engineers… guys and girls who may not be rockstars, but are still incredibly skilled and can handle plenty of creative heavy lifting. Those jobs would be just as rewarding, and probably a little easier to come into.
As coincidence would have it, earlier this afternoon this YouTube video came across my feed and connected all the dots. Check it out.
It’s no secret, I’m rather bearish about the advice I’ll give my children when it comes to following their dreams. But if one of them told me they wanted to go work as a Lego Engineer for a career, I suppose that’s a decision I could get behind — just so long as they let me come over and play with their toys.
In fact, now that I think of it, to hell with this dentistry. If I could get a job building Legos all day, I’d sell this damn dental practice in a heartbeat.
What do you do when your kid darts off down the street and you realize you’re too out of shape to stand a chance of catching up?
What do you do when you have to roll up in your beat up old jalopy to the PTA meeting with all the keeping-up-with-the-Jonse’s soccer moms?
What do you do when it’s time to trade your Porsche in for the family wagon?
That’s right. Sit back and take in the awesomeness.
Now taking orders.
his week fellow dad blogger Adam Dolgin at Fodder 4 Fathers (credit where credit is due) published a blogpost that, frankly, moved me. It started out innocently enough, a little experiment he ran on his blog’s Facebook page where he asked his followers “If you could go back in time and tell your father one thing before he had kids, what would it be?” The results were quite surprising, and moving — so much so that I’d like to try the same experiment with the DorkDaddy.com readers. (Try not to read Adam’s post until after you do the experiment. We don’t want to influence the results.)
In the comments section below this blog post, please answer the question:
If you could go back in time and tell your father one thing before he had kids, what would it be?
Be as open and honest as you can. You don’t even need to identify yourself if you aren’t comfortable doing so. But think back and imagine who that man was, or might have been. What is the one thing you would want him to hear before he had children? I will make sure that the comments section remains a safe place to share.
I am very interested in where your thoughts take you, and what you would have to say.
very once in a while when we were kids, my dad used to crank up his old man music and do his own version of the DorkDaddy thing. Usually it was either folk music from the Kingston Trio, or The Beach Boys – turned up loud enough to make the dog leave the room. I do the same thing to my kids today, only these days the “old man music” is Def Leppard and Bon Jovi.
30 years ago when the Beach Boys album was pumpin’ and the dog was hiding under the bed, “Surfer Girl” would come on and my dad would swoop up one (or both) of my little sisters. He’d put them on his toes and dance with them in his arms, singing the lyrics (falsetto and all) as if the song was written just for them.
Ever since she was in Jr. High, my baby sister always maintained that whenever she got married and it came time for the father/daughter dance, it was going to be to “Surfer Girl”. I don’t know that my father ever heard of her plan – he might have. But the plan might also have been one of those conversations between siblings that we all remembered and just never brought up again.
In any case, that day finally came this weekend. My baby sister got married. Episode IV got to be the flower girl and Episode V got to be the (Lord of the) ring bearer(s). Episode VI was still too little for an official part in the ceremony, but he was listed in the program anyway as “Cutie-patootie” and got to walk his Booboo down the aisle along with his equally adorable cousin. As it was he managed to steal his share of thunder when he finally decided he was finished with being a crawler and wanted to be a walker – at the rehearsal dinner – around a pool!
The ceremony went off without a hitch – perfect weather, no major SNAFU’s. The party moved on to the reception where there could be found all the typical wedding traditions: speeches from the Best Man and Matron of Honor, cake cutting, toasts, yadda, yadda…
When most of the guests were done eating, it was time to dance. As expected, the bride and groom got the first dance to the song of their choosing, with all the requisite “awww”s and camera-phone shots from the guests you would expect. Dance/smooch/hug, dance/smooch/hug. Typical wedding fare. The dance ended to the applause of the guests.
And then it happened…
That baritone scale progression, followed by the lilting falsetto melody – so familiar it’s practically written into my family’s DNA, “Surfer Girl” started up as the DJ announced that it was time for the father/daughter dance. My dad lost it. My sister lost it. All the guests in the room lost it. And that one moment that my sister had been planning since Jr. High finally came true. She was dancing with her daddy to the perfect song after the perfect day.
It is a strange quirk of life that I tend to look at these things through the lens of fatherhood these days, rather than as a brother, or a husband, or even just plain old me. The last time I watched my father in a father/daughter dance at my sister’s wedding, I didn’t have a daughter myself. Things are different now. This weekend I didn’t see my baby sister up there dancing with her daddy, I saw a father having his last dance with his last child, his youngest daughter, his little baby (surfer) girl. I saw that awful, inevitable, inescapable moment where a father has to finally admit that although she may have been a grownup for years and years, his little girl is no longer his. In moments like those, your mind starts to wander.
I have a daughter.
I have a daughter I love so much it hurts. I have a daughter I love so much, sometimes I lose it just looking at her pictures on my screensaver. I have a daughter who’s growing up the way daughters do. At every major life event I see the girl going off to the first day of kindergarten, or the little girl riding her bike for the first time, or the little girl who mastered reading in a week, or the flower girl at my sister’s wedding… but I also see that little baby, only seconds old, that I held in my hands. I walked her to school on her first day of kindergarten. I ran behind the bike, steadying it as she found her balance. I helped her sound out the hard words. I painted her fingers and toes to match her dress for the wedding…
Sometimes all I can see is that little, newborn baby daughter.
Someday that daughter may want to get married.
Someday she may have a wedding, with a dress and a flower girl and a reception and everything.
At that reception there will very likely be dancing.
Before the dancing there will likely be a father/daughter dance.
She will walk up to me, after dancing with her husband, and take my hand to lead me to the dance floor.
What song will she pick?
Of course I know what song she’ll pick. We have a song. It’s our song. We will dance to our song and I will have to admit to myself that she is no longer mine, and I will totally lose it.
I know what you’re thinking right now. You’re thinking “Holy crap, man. Your daughter is seven. You’ve got DECADES before you have to worry about that sort of thing. Get a grip.”
You’re right, you’re right. I know you’re right. But this is what it means to love a little person so much you’d swear your heart will explode. This is what it means to look down in silence at your sleeping baby, filled with panic at how fast it’s all gone by and with terror at what is to come. This is what it means to be the father of a daughter.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back into the office and give myself oxygen for the next 23 years.