Friday, December 16, 2005

"I Try To, Daddy"

“I try to, Daddy.”

That’s what Sammy said on the phone yesterday when I asked him if he was being a good boy. I thought it was one of the most profound things I have ever heard a four-year-old say. What I wanted to tell him was that there is nothing on the planet that he could do that would change the fact that he was not only a good, but an incredible boy. He has a heart bigger than his father’s ever will be and is one the three (and a half) most important people in my life. He understands now why I am over here, and what I’ve been doing, and he handles it well. I thought about that conversation with him for the rest of the day.

When I was a kid growing up my father and I had one real connection—Star Wars. Once I got older, we developed more and more in common and he’s my best friend in the world today. Back then though—the relationship we had focused a lot on science fiction and baseball. One memory I have very clear in my head was listening to the soundtrack to “The Empire Strikes Back” on a record we had bought one Saturday summer night. My sister and mother had gone out to do something, and it was just us in the house. It was by a group named “Meco,” and had Star Wars music set to some funky disco tunes with special effects in the background. We got so excited listening to it that we dropped what we were doing and headed out to see the movie, for the third time, in the theater. I’m not sure why, but I remember that night as if it was yesterday.

With the advent of downloadable music, I managed to find one of the Meco tracks online somewhere. Long ago, before he could even talk, I had Sammy watching Star Wars. He absolutely loves it (reference R2D2 he carries with him). Shortly before I left to deploy I put my headset on him (incidentally, if you ever want to see pure wonder, put a headset on a young child and see what happens) and played that song for him. The look in his eyes was priceless. He laughed through the whole thing and listened to it about 100 times before finally falling asleep with the earphones on hours later. Since then I listen to that song all the time when I want to think of him.

I heard it on my mp3 player this morning on the bus on my way to work. The sun hadn’t come up yet and all I could se was barbed wire and desert rushing by. Tears filled my eyes when I thought of that look on his face when he heard that music.

God, I miss them.

33 days to go.