December 31. New Year's Eve. Out with the old, in with the new. Kisses at midnight and resolutions and all that jazz. For those about to rock, you don't need my salute. Your night is going to be crazy either way. But for those at home with kids, I present the following:
First, let me tell you about my accidental collection.
See, many years ago my wife bought me a Transformers Mr. Potato Head (Optimash Prime, to be precise). The Transformers were just making their comeback to pop culture relevance and I greeted this wave of nostalgia as I often do - hyperbolicious declarations of the superiority of the good ol' days of children's television.
The fact that he was a Potato Head was less important than the Transformer angle and the pun (Amy loves puns; It's a worrying addiction, actually). Optimash came to work with me and took up residence on my desk.
A few years later a colleague left our team, leaving his pop culture Mr. Potato Head (Tony Starch) in my care. From there the collection has grown, with a Dr. Who and two Star Trek spuds on my desk. Never bought by me, mind you, always gifts.
The kid visits me at work from time to time and she's quite fond of my little collection.
Fast forward to Christmas 2014. For the first time, there are gifts under the tree for my wife and I that the kid picked out. By herself. See, her school does a fundraiser where families donate old toys and housewares then the students are allowed to spend their pocket change on gifts for their families. Everything is a dollar and the kid was pleased as punch to do a little Christmas shopping solo.
"I just KNOW you're going to love your present, Daddy!"
The kid is a few weeks shy of five. She is, understandably, largely focused on the gifts under the tree that are intended for her. But the pride in her voice when she told us how much we were going to love our presents was amazing to behold. She insisted that we open her gifts first (after she opened some Frozen accessories from her cousin, of course).
I opened up the gift bag she'd acquired at school and, for the first time, looked down at a gift that my kid picked out all by herself.
A giant Darth Vader Mr. Potato Head with three regular-sized Star Wars themed Mr. Potato Heads inside. I looked down at the gift for a few minutes and started to laugh, then looked up at her.
Huge. Freaking. Smile.
"See Daddy? I know you love Star Wars and I know you love Mr. Potato Heads so I knew you'd love it!"
Damn right, kiddo. Damn right.
The kid's school had its winter concert this week. Her class performed three songs and it was, as you'd expect, adorable.
One song in particular warmed my heart so I asked her to sing it again at home so I could share it with you. Shameless? Youbetcha. But this is what memories are made of folks, and technology today being what it is (read: readily available), I recorded it for posterity.
If the image of two dozen four-year-olds pointing their fingers at the crowd and screaming "Gotcha!" in (relative) unison doesn't make your heart grow two sizes... well I don't want to know you.
It was our first ever school holiday concert as parents and I fear the kid has set too high a bar for herself. How is she ever going to top this gem? I assume it'll require lasers.