Thursday, January 12, 2012
Learning the Game
Joe has offered, more times than I can count, to give me lessons... teach me the game. But at some point I reached the decision that the part of me that wanted to learn for him was overruled by the part of me that really had no desire at all. Although I enjoy watching him play, I would never enjoy actually playing myself.
I didn't learn at a young age like he did. If I had, maybe things would be different. But the fact that he did makes his desire to teach our son all that more meaningful. And our assessment that Brendan would be the perfect child to learn this thought-provoking, problem solving game was affirmed during our trip to California.
Joe got out the Chess board to play with my stepdad, Paul, who was (and still is) recovering from spinal surgery related to the cancer he has been fighting for nearly a decade. Paul welcomed the chance to be out of bed with something to do and Brendan was thrilled with the chance to be with Daddy and Papa.
So, as Joe began the game, he also calmly explained every move to Brendan along the way. Five minutes in was where he would've completely lost me, but Brendan hung on every word. And just when I thought he was only halfway listening he would ask an appropriate question that would put me in my place.
Paul got tired quickly and had to put the game on pause for later. And Brendan was nearing the end of his 5-year-old focus limit. I watched him sweetly tell Joe "Daddy, I think I'm going to go play with cars now..." But as I turned away I heard Joe say "OK Buddy, just let me show you one more thing..." And 15 minutes later I realized he had gotten sucked back in. But the smile on his face let me know it was by choice. By the end he was naming each piece with confidence. I'm not sure whether that final smile was for a new love of the game or for his special time with Daddy. Either way... that boy is amazing :)