Category Archives: Cutie Snoo

The Double-Edged Sword of Empathy

So a couple days ago, while I was in the middle of doing some promotional streaming for our charity fundraiser, my phone rang.

Even though I was in the middle of a live-broadcast discussion of mental health, I still tried to pick up. But, since the phone was muted, I was slow and I missed it.

Then a text came in:

“Oot would like to call you about a baby bird he found.”

As soon as I’d wrapped up the stream, I gave a call back. My eldest boy put me on speakerphone. (He is only 11, a stripling youth, and therefore does not know that this behavior is anathema. Plus I love him, so much is immediately forgiven.)

(A rare sighting in the wild)

While they’d been out camping, he explained, his little brother (Cutie, 7) had spotted a baby bird that had fallen out of its nest. They were worried about it, and they wanted to bring it home.

Did it have feathers? I asked. Or was it still pink with its eyes closed?

Kinda some feathers, he said, but it was pretty pink. And yeah, its eyes were pretty closed.

Did you try to put it back in the nest? I asked.

It was way too high up, he explained. They could tell it was the right nest because they could hear the other birds up there peeping. He was obviously hungry because he kept opening his mouth, but he wasn’t very loud.

He and Cutie had a theory that maybe he was weak because he wasn’t very good at peeping up for food. Or maybe his mom had pushed him out of the nest because he wasn’t a very loud peeper.

Or, I offered, maybe it might not be able make much noise because he was hungry and weak.

Oot pointed out they’d already fed him some oats mashed up with some water. Also, he added, they really wanted to bring him home and take care of him.

(The Byirb in question)

This is what happens. You read to them. You talk about emotions, and listen as best you can. You celebrate and encourage their empathy… and then they grow up wanting to save baby birds.

And oh, I love them for it. And at the same time I worry I’ve done them a bad turn despite my best intentions. Because we need that empathy. It is, in my opinion, the defining human characteristic. But it is a double-edged sword. When you have a lot, it gets really heavy. And you can’t just pick and choose. You carry it all the time. And all too often it feels like it’s got no handle either, so you just kinda walk though your whole life constantly cut up and bleeding….

And I love that they’re like this. I love that they want to save baby birds. I wouldn’t want them any other way. But still, they’re *my* baby birds. And I want to keep them safe from both hurt AND harm….

But I can’t keep them from the world, and I can’t keep them from being who they are. It’s just hard, knowing part of your job as a parent is to let your children be hurt by the world.

It’s going to be a lot of work, I tell him. It’s helpless, and it will need care and attention. Warmth and food all the time. Even in the middle of the night….

Oot says he knows.

And there’s a really good chance that the bird won’t make it, I say. Even if we do everything right. Even if we’re really careful, there’s a good chance that it’ll die.

Oot replies that even if that happens, at least we’ll have done our best. And if we do everything we can, we won’t have to feel as bad. And he says that at the very least, if we’re keeping it warm and fed, it will know that someone cares. If it does die, at least it would know (as much as a baby bird can know anything) that someone was there for it at the end. It wouldn’t have to be alone.

(They named him “Mr. Cheepers.”)

These are the things my son explains to me. Or maybe I say them to him. I honestly can’t remember, because the truth is that I’ve said those things to my children in the past, and now they say them back to me. It’s a hell of a thing, having children that listen and remember. It warms my heart and breaks it all at once.

So I tell him of course he can bring it over. And I’ll help them do research. And I’ll help them take care of it. And we’ll do our best. And I tell him that I love that he cares as much as he does.

Then I hang up the call and get ready for the bird to die before he even gets home. Or to die in the night. Or to die after we’ve taken care of it for two weeks. I need to be braced for it, so if it happens I won’t be blindsided and hurt too badly. So if it happens I can ease the boys through the experience…

But they get back with the bird just fine. What’s more, it turns out there’s a place that takes baby birds and cares for them. It’s only an hour away.

I ask them if they’d like to take the bird there, rather than have us take care of it ourselves. It will have a better chance with people who know what they’re doing, who know birds and how to care for them…

And they surprise me by saying yes. Which is impressive in a whole different way. It shows that they don’t just want a pet, or to be the people who nurse a sick animal back to health. They want what is best for the bird. It’s selfless in a way I didn’t expect.

So that is why I spent almost three and a half hours driving through the twisting back roads of Wisconsin on Tuesday night. Phone ran out of battery. Got lost.

But at the end of it all:

(Yay!)

There is a clarity in crisis. When something is very wrong, it’s easy to know what’s important. That means you can focus. That means it’s easier to decide what you can do. This is why crisis can be oddly comforting.

(This is why a lot of us do odd things: like fantasize about the zombie apocalypse, or inadvertently create or promote crisis in our own lives.)

The trouble is, of course, when you have multiple crisis to choose from. The older you get, the more you know about the world, the more you realize that there’s an endless all-you-can-stress buffet of calamity going on every day. I spend a long time on the horns of dilemma, wondering which fire I should be throwing water on. Fascism or the Pandemic? Fighting homelessness or hunger?

Or, just to pick something entirely at random… should I spend my evening trying to save a baby bird, or should I spend it trying to promote my charity fundraiser that only has a few days left?

In this case, I chose the bird. I’m conflicted about that. I’m proud of Worldbuilders, and the work we do has improved the lives of tens of thousands of people over the last decade. What’s more, the current fundraiser is important for the financial stability of the charity. A lot of the products over there are things designed to appeal to my readers. So it feels like there’s no better person to promote them than me…

(Case in Point.)

It’s hard for me to remember that other people *can* spread the word about the fundraiser. And no matter how hard I hustle, nothing works better than word of mouth. Either people will be excited enough to buy stuff and tell their friends during the final days, or they won’t.

On the other hand, I *was* the only person who was going to save this baby bird. And the only person who could have this particular little adventure in empathy with my boys…

So I’m trying hard to count this one as a win. I saved a baby birb and was a pretty good dad.

If you want to check out the cool things Worldbuilders is selling, you can head over here.

Later space cowboys,

pat

Also posted in babies, baby ducks, Because I Love, day in the life, musings, Oot | By Pat31 Responses

One Good Thing #4: Henry

Allow me to introduce you to the newest member of our household.

His name is Henry.

(Say hello, Henry!)

The boys and I have become very fond of him over the last couple weeks, to the extent where I think it’s fair to say that he’s a member of the family….

We recently celebrated a family holiday, and after eating cake and watching shows and cuddling, I asked the boys what they would like more of in their lives. Because if I knew that, we could work together on getting it.

It was late when I asked, the boys were already in bed and falling asleep with the unstoppable surety of someone falling off a cliff. (I remember falling asleep like that, and I hope to again someday, but I worry it might be the purview of the young.)

But I’m a night-owl, and I need less sleep than they do. So I have an irritating habit of asking them questions just as I’ve tucked them in all snug and warm…

It was only then, standing over them in the dim light from the hallway, that I remembered that I wanted to ask them. (You have to leave the hall light on. Of course you do. I remember what it’s like to be a child.) And even though they were fading fast, I asked them: What would you like more of in your life?

Cutie’s eyes were closed, but without hesitation, yawningly, he said he wanted secret tunnels, showing he is the true child of my heart.

Oot was quiet for a bit, and I thought he’d passed out. When he finally spoke, his voice was blurry. As if he was only dimly able to focus on what I’d said from where he was at bottom of a deep well of sleep.  “Beautiful rich colours,” he said, soft and slow like he was speaking under hypnosis. Then added: “Cosy Flowers,” showing that he too, is the child of my heart.

Since then, we’ve been working on cosy, beautiful, richly coloured flowers. It’s with muted confusion that I realize how oddly domestic I have become. I feel like this should fill me with a yawning terror, like I’m forgetting my true self. The self I’ve been forever. The me who never bothered putting up so much as a poster in so many of the places I lived, let alone go through all the work of planting flowers….

Instead, I find these things to be an untrammeled delight. (Well… *slightly* trammeled. Sometimes. Depending on how careful the boys are about when they place their feet.)

And it’s how Henry has come into our lives…

(Click to Embiggen)

(Also note Oot’s side hussle: promoting True Dungeon like a champ.)

Speaking of which, if you’re interested in seeing more True Dungeon stuff, as well as dozens of other cool geeky products (including some stuff from me) Worldbuilders is having its Geeks-Doing-Good fundraiser next week. (Here’s a link you can use to follow the Indigogo. If you plug in your e-mail there, you can get a notification when everything goes live on the 21st.)

I’ll be doing a bunch of streaming to celebrate and promote it the fundraiser. Games and Q&A and discussions with special guests.

Though *that* reminds me. I don’t think I mentioned it on the blog yet, but if you didn’t already know, I’ve been streaming regularly over on twitch for the last several months. Every Friday from 1:00 – 3:00 CST, as well as other random times.

I’ll be posting the streaming schedule for the charity up here on the blog in the next couple days. As well as descriptions of of some of the kingkiller related prizes. But if you’re prefer to get live updates you can just follow my twitch channel and make sure your notifications to ON. That way, you get a heads-up about *all* the streams I do, even if they’re scheduled last minute, completely spontaneous.

That’s all for now. I’ll see y’all more here in the blog over the next couple weeks.

Until then, I hope your lives are full of rich, warm, beautiful colours.

Later space cowboys,

pat

Also posted in Arts and Crafts, Because I Love, cool things, day in the life, One Good Thing, Oot, The Terror of Domesticity | By Pat38 Responses

Games and Podcasts and Swords and Coins and Cows and Stuff…

So… yeah. That’s my best title to a blog ever. Big wordsmith here….

We’re more than halfway through our big yearly Worldbuilders fundraiser, and we’ve just blown by $750,000 raised.

Statistically, I don’t know if it’s our best fundraiser ever (I’d need to unpack some math before I could say that conclusively) but I do know we’re doing amazingly well even without taking into consideration the fact that there’s a pandemic, economic turmoil, civil unrest, and probably a plague of locusts by the time I manage to finish writing this.

As I hope you know by this point, we’re giving away a bunch of cool things to everyone who donates. I won’t go on and on about it here. But if you want some details about a bunch of the Kingkiller specific stuff, you can head over to my team page and check it out.

 

There are actually way *more* stretch goal prizes that have been unlocked. But we keep hitting them so fast that it’s hard to keep the graphics updated.

I doing a ton of streaming these days too, obviously. Bunch of archived video over there. Panels and me playing games and answering questions.

I’ve also been doing some streaming with the boys, mostly minecraft stuff.Just today we wandered around and showed off a big chunk of what we’ve made in our minecraft world.

 

Oot’s Cow Jar page is doing very well. It’s currently at about $16,000 dollars, and Oot is delighted to have raised enough for over 32 cows. Both he and cutie have painted some pictures they’re giving away on the page.  And we’ve set up a stretch goal where anyone who donates on his page will get access to a special minecraft server where we’ll all play together.

So if that sounds like a good time to you, you can wander over and check that stuff out.

I’ll be streaming for the duration of the fundraiser, including a big D&D game later today that you probably don’t want to miss…

In addition to all of that, I’ve done a couple podcasts lately, and I thought I’d throw you some links in case y’all were interested in checking them out.

Where I’ve been:

  • All My Fantasy Children on the ONE SHOT Podcast Network

Episode 160 – Cradlecatch the Untrod

  • Lawful Stupid

Flash In The Pan – The Episode with Patrick Rothfuss

  • Desert Island Discworld

4.6 Patrick Rothfuss & Thud!

 

There’s a lot more, too. But that’s all I’ve got in me for now. It’s after 4 am, and I’ve got to be up in the morning.

Remember that the fundraiser is over on the 15th, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, you might want to head over there before it’s too late….

More soon,

pat

Also posted in appearances, Oot, podcasts, Worldbuilders 2020 | By Pat7 Responses

The Tenuous Serenity of Not-Knowing

As I start writing this, it’s the morning of November 4th. The day after the election. It’s an event I’m guessing folks will eventually refer to in historical if not straight-up superlative terms: The French Revolution. The The War of 1812, The Tungusta event, the Election of 2020.

(Actual Footage)

This is, as they say, a big one. It feels melodramatic to say, “This is the election that will define America,” but it’s probably true. More than that, I hope this *isn’t* the election that shows what America has become.

Despite the fact that the election was yesterday, I don’t know the results. I did what I could leading up to the event. Donated money to places that fight voter suppression. I helped make arrangements so everyone who works for me or Worldbuilders had the day off so that they could vote or support other people who wanted to vote. I’d made sure friends were voting. Years ago, I started a newsletter with the hope of urging people to political awareness/activism, and it’s been trundling along quietly ever since.

Of course, this morning all I can think about is that I could have done more. That I should have done more. I always feel like I should be doing more.

Nevertheless, I don’t know how the election turned out because last night I focused on spending time with my boys. After I finished my afternoon meetings, we went for a walk. Then we made dinner plans. Then I read them a chapter of Slow Regard. (Something I started a while back on a lark, I wondered if they would enjoy hearing me read, and was startled at how into it they were. I could write an entire *other* blog post about what that’s been like all by itself.)

We read together and we cuddled. We brought the empty garbage cans back to the house. Did some chores. Had a feelings talk. Made and ate dinner together. Cleaned up and did the dishes and had our evening treat:

(Tim-Tams sent to me by the lovely folks at Ludo Cherry.)

Then we did our fun thing for the evening. We were going to watch Kipo and some Adventure Time. But when the time came, our mood had shifted, and instead we watched some Youtube videos: one about a guy called Rollerman, and another about people who do that thing where they jump off mountains and glide like flying squirrels.

After each video, I told the boys that I loved them. I told them I would always support them in whatever they chose to do in their lives. I told them their bodies belonged to them, and they were the only ones who got to decide what happened to them.

I also told them that I admired these people in the videos. And that flying down a mountain looked really cool, and part of me wishes I could do it. And that I was glad that there were people in the world who were willing to pursue amazing feats like that.

BUT I also told them that they could never do either of those things. Ever. They agreed.

We then watched some Minecraft videos. (We’re partial to the flavor of brilliant madness produced by Dream and his friends.) After that, the boys told me that while my choices were my own, and I was an adult and free to do as I liked, that I should never *ever* mine straight down. Especially when I was in the Never and wearing all our best equipment. I agreed.

We have a good relationship.

Then it was washing face and hands. Brushing teeth. And, because we managed to hit our bedtime, we got to read, so I read them the final two chapters of Slow Regard, and we talked about it until they fell asleep.

That was my evening. At no point did I poke my nose onto the internet to find out what was happening with the Election. There was nothing I could do at this point but worry, so I avoided it. This is a skill I’ve been trying to develop this last year: The Life-Changing Magic of Sometimes Just Not Thinking About It. (TM)

Today, I still don’t know what’s up. It’s the boy’s busiest school day, they each have three zoom classes. Breakfast and lunch. Tidy the house. A little e-mail. Setting up a video play date. There’s a lot to keep busy with…

(One of the things I’m keeping busy with is this blog. Pecking away at it here or there. Right now Oot is having his virtual Spanish class while Cutie is listening to the audiobook version of Agatha Heterodyne and the Clockwork Princess. (Yup, there are novel versions of the amazing comic. They’re both written by the Foglios, and if you buy it off that link you’re *also* supporting Worldbuilders.)

But here’s the thing, as the day progresses, I still don’t want to get into my e-mail or on social media for fear of seeing news about the election. Don’t want to message anyone for fear they’ll let something slip and shatter my fragile not-knowing.

Last night this was such a good strategy. I was proud of it. I was peaceful. I felt I’d made a healthy choice and enjoyed quality time with my boys rather than engage in pointless, self-destructive media engagement.

But today I’m walking on eggshells. The boys and I rake leaves and I think, “Surely if Trump was voted out, one of my friends would have pinged me with delighted crowing… so that must mean he’s still in.”

Then I think, “Surely if Trump was still in, one of my friends would have been unable to avoid howling in agony in my direction, so he must be out?” Plus I’m pretty sure it would be raining blood and the sky would be the color of burning tar.

But nothing is happening. It’s a really nice day out. We rake crispy bright-coloured leaves. We eat pickles and biscuits and soup for lunch. The boys practice their knitting.

I know something big must be happening, but right now it can’t touch me. I’m in an odd liminal state that reminds me nothing so much as when my mother died.

That’s a story I don’t know if I’ve ever told on the blog. Simply said: I got the call in the middle of the class I was teaching. I had a strict no-phone policy, but I’d told my students I had family stuff going on, and I might have to answer the phone if a doctor called. I stepped into the hallway, found out she was dead, then went back into the room and taught the rest of the class. Then I taught my next class too. Only they did I go home, get in my car, and head down to Madison to spend time with my Dad and Sister.

When I came back to Stevens Point two days later, I hung out with a friend. It’s so odd to think of now. I haven’t had local friends in ages, so the thought of just meeting someone casually for lunch seems so odd. Doubly odd now, as after the last 8 months, just the memory of eating in a restaurant feels surreal.

But back then it was odd for a different reason. This was back in 2007, two months before my book was published. Way back when I had local friends in town. All of them knew what was going on: that my mom had the sort of cancer you didn’t get better from.

I wasn’t on social media in a meaningful way. Social media didn’t really exist in the same way back then. The only reason I’d finally caved and bought a cell phone at all was because my mom was sick. As a result, my friend didn’t know my mom was dead.

When we got together to hang out, I didn’t tell them. Part of it was the fact that I couldn’t imagine how to bring it up. But the bigger part was that if I didn’t tell my friend the news, for the space of the meal I didn’t have to live in a place where my mom was gone. Down in Madison everyone knew. We were making funeral plans. Consoling each other. Offering support. I was soaked through with the incessant oppressive reality of her utter non-existence.

But my friend didn’t know. They weren’t sad about it. They didn’t mourn at me. Didn’t offer comfort. That meant that back in Point, for the space of a meal, things could just be normal a little while longer. Just for a while.

That’s what I feel like today.

As I finish writing this blog, it’s 3 AM on November 5th, two days after the election. I spent the day with my boys and despite my best efforts, I’ve become dimly, inexorably aware of the fact that it’s not just me that doesn’t know what’s up with the election. Apparently everyone’s in a liminal state. I still haven’t checked the news.

I’m not sure if I’ll post this. It certainly won’t be the first blog I’ve written and then left to lay fallow here.

If I do launch it. I hope y’all are doing as well as can be reasonably expected. I hope you’re experiencing a flavor of not-knowing you enjoy, or at least find pleasantly palliative. I hope for all of us, this isn’t merely the joyful bliss of an unseen iceberg. I hope for all of us, it’s more the tense uncertainty that comes before opening a gift you’ve been desperately desiring.

Or, if not that, a gift like the ones my grandfather gave me ages ago: a pair of soft pajama pants, wool socks, traction grips that fit my shoes for ease of winter walking….

Not gifts I wanted at that age. Gifts that were, quite frankly, annoying and irritating in the moment. But also the only gifts I used for decades afterwards. Gifts that improved my life in small, meaningful, persistent ways.

Here’s hoping,

pat

Also posted in a ganglion of irreconcilable antagonisms, ethical conundra, mom, musings, Oot, the man behind the curtain, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat121 Responses

One Good Thing #3

Also posted in One Good Thing, Oot | By PatComments closed

One Good Thing #2

In an effort to get back into blogging while also focusing the positive things in my life, I’m trying something I think of as “One Good Thing” where I share a good thing out of my day.

This is one of those things:

*     *     *

Today I was hanging out with my boys, and I said, utterly unironically, “Jeepers Cripes.”

(I honestly don’t know why. As a lot of you know, especially if you’ve seen me in person or watched me livestream, I curse like a sailor with a broken leg an will happily shout “Motherfucker!” at the slightest provocation.

That said, I do tend to use different language around the boys, so maybe this isn’t that odd.)

Okay. So. As I said, I was hanging out with my boys, and I said, “Jeepers Cripes.”

Cutie: That would be funny if you said, “Jeepers Crepes.”

Oot: Delicious.

Cutie: That would be a curse word in the Candy Kingdom.

Cutie preparing something for Experimental Sandwich Night using a tortilla,  peanut butter, raspberry jam, and what is known in our house as “garbage cheese.” It could be fairly said that this is about as close to a “Jeepers Crepes” as you are ever likely to see in this world.

*     *     *

Internet went out at my house last night, so I wasn’t able to livestream, tweet, or write a blog to promote the fundraiser or talk about the new items we have going up.

That said, things are going well. We’ve raised over $80,000 so far, which I feel is pretty good given, well, covid and the general state of the world.

That said, we have posted up a *bunch* of new things today, most of them limited in quantity, some of them purely digital (for those of you who live overseas and don’t want to pay crazy shipping), many of them severely discounted…

So if you’re interested in grabbing stuff, keep in mind that there’s only 3 days left before it’s over.

Take care of each other,

pat

 

Also posted in Experimental Sandwitch, One Good Thing, Oot | By Pat22 Responses

Crapping Presents: In Which Oot is Cute

Heya everybody,

It’s been a while since I told a story about my kids here on the blog. And over the last couple days, my kids have been *particularly* fucking cute. So I figured this was as good a time as any to break my dry spell…

My little boys are, despite my best efforts, getting older. Oot is ten, and just a little while back, Cutie (also known as Cutie Snoo) turned an almost incomprehensible six years old.

(Here they are at Gamehole Con, dressed up as squids.)

Now some of you might think that the costumes they’re wearing look suspiciously like those costumes people buy for their dogs at Target. And some of you would be right. But my kids don’t know that. And I don’t plan on telling them. And also they were super cheap. Also shut up. Also, I’m an awesome dad.

Also also, just because it’s been a while since I’ve talked about the boys here on the blog, I should make it clear that Oot and Cutie Snoo aren’t their real names. I keep their real names private because I talk about them and share pictures of them on the internet. Using public names gives them a bit of privacy and safety. If they really want to be internet famous, they can make that decision for themselves when they grow up. I don’t want to make it for them.

Anyway, as I was saying, I’ve been wanting to tell a cute kid story for a while now, and for a similar amount of while, I thought that that story was going to involve the time that I heard them playing in their room together.

“What are you guys doing?” I asked.

“We were playing M&M!” Cutie chirrups.

“What’s that?” says me, the very good dad who would never dress his kids in dog costumes unless, of course, they were super cheap and his kids looked amazingly adorable in them.

“It’s kinda like D&D,” says Oot. “Except without the dice.”

Which is to say that what they were *really* doing was telling stories together.

I hope I don’t need to stress to you how ebullient that makes me feel. I’ve been telling them stories for years now. Little adventure tales where they are characters and they solve problems or make choices that shape the narrative. It’s like role playing without the roll, if you catch my meaning.

And now, apparently, they’re doing it with each other….

I’ll be honest with y’all. I wish I had that story on tape. Partly so *I* would get to listen to it all, but also so I could share it with you. All I really caught from listening in the hallway was that someone had stolen someone else’s socks. Further inquiry informed me that Cutie was originally going to be a Frost Gecko who would eventually transform into an Ice Dragon. But then he became a Flame Raven. But now he was a human because he needed to have a backpack because… honestly. I don’t remember why. Probably just Because Backpacks, I’m guessing.

(Also, I think he had a shock toad as a pet? And it ate battery flies? I don’t have any more context than that for you, sorry.)

But that story, sadly, will have to wait for another time. Maybe I can get lucky and get them to continue it on tape at some point.

For now, as I was saying, my boys = cute and awesome. Also, my littler, Codename Cutie, just recently had a birthday.

So. Cue the music. Cute story time.

*     *     *

The other day, I had a remarkably large amount of fun going shopping for Cutie’s birthday presents with Oot. This didn’t used to be the case, as little kids, by and large, are more interested in getting presents than giving them. And taking a kid to a toy store and telling them over and over, “Yes, I know YOU like that Frozen 2 Drum Set (TM) and the Farting Kermit the Frog plushy with RealStinq technology, but we’re shopping for your brother, remember…?”

But this year, shopping was such a delight. Oot had ideas of his own. Things *he* wanted to shop for. Even picked out his own card, which is one of the best I’ve ever seen:

But wait, it gets better.

One of the things I struggle with a lot as a parent is *not* doing things for my boys. Especially when we’re in a hurry. Especially when I can see my boys are struggling.

This may not make sense to a lot of y’all, but I think one of my main jobs as a dad is to let my children struggle. They need to try things, fail, be frustrated, fail again, get irritated, try again, then eventually get something done and be generally disappointed in the fact that it hasn’t turned out as well as they’d hoped.

But it’s HARD. I’m a fixer. I’m a helper. I want to make their lives easy. I want to offer assistance, give advice, and help them *avoid* disappointment.

Still, I strive to leave them be and force them to do things themselves even when they’re bad at it. Because doing things yourself is the only way you get better.

I’ve done this for years with Oot, one of my earliest memories of this was him around 2 years old. We’re in the kitchen, and I’m watching him try to cut a potato with a butter knife for AGES while my fingers twitch with the almost overwhelming desire to step forward and say, “Here, let me help….”

Fast forward to now. He’s 10. He’s picked out his own presents. He knew exactly the wrapping paper he wanted. Picked out the bow he wanted, too.

We were a little late for the party. Time was tight. He didn’t want to be late. I asked him if he wanted me to help him cut the wrapping paper… and he said no, thanks anyway, he’d rather wrap it himself…

Then he wrapped this:

I am going to be completely honest here. This is more fastidiously wrapped than anything I’ve done in my whole life. This will probably shock none of you, but when I wrap things… pretty isn’t the word that leaps to mind.

Here, for example, is a prize package that I wrapped for the Worldbuilders lottery years and years ago…

(Click to embiggen.)

Needless to say, they don’t let me help with that anymore.

But here’s my boy, age 10, doing this:

Then this:

Whatever gene governs this ability must be recessive, because it certainly didn’t manifest in me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love how beautiful my boy’s presents turned out. I love that he cared about making something beautiful for his brother. And I love seeing him be better at something with me.

But that wasn’t the really excellent part.

This was:

Then:

And finally:

The final result: a present that looks like it was wrapped by an angry badger. It looks like Oot  either didn’t care at all, or that he really couldn’t use tape to save his life. We spent so much time strategizing about how to make it look crappy, laughing and laughing. It was 15 minutes of pure joy. Joy the likes of which I rarely experience these days. Quite literally the most raw and perfect happiness I’ve had in a week.

As we were getting ready to take him to the party, I looked at the package and started to laugh.

“It’s such crappy wrapping!” I said.

“Crapping,” Oot corrected me, making a portmanteau of the words. (I should teach him that term, now that I think of it.)

“You did a good job crapping that present,” I said.

“We crapped it together,” he said, grinning like a maniac.

And we continued like that, back and forth, all the way to the party.

*     *     *

It’s been too long since I shared something like this with y’all. It feels nice.

As an interesting side-note for those of you who are interested in my writing process, I wrote this blog live on my Twitch Stream as part of the daily livestreaming that I do to promote our yearly fundraiser.

If you’re interested in seeing things like that, you could wander over and give my Twitch page a follow.

Alternately, you can visit Oot’s Team page for the fundraiser over here. He’s really excited about raising money for Worldbuilders.

In other news, the Worldbuilders Auctions are in their final day. If you haven’t wandered over there to take a look at what’s being offered, you’re really missing out. There’s some truly unique items there, and all the proceeds go to charity.

And lastly but not leastly, tomorrow (Sunday the 15th) I’m doing a special livestream where I talk about the upcoming liveplay podcast I’m doing set in my world with the One Shot Podcast Network.

(That will be over on my twitch stream too)

That’s all for now, but stay tuned. The fundraiser is over in just a couple days, and we’re going to have cool things happening every day until the end…

See you later space cowboys…

pat

Also posted in Arts and Crafts, Beautiful Games, Oot, small adventures | By Pat31 Responses
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