Raising Nerds – Chapter 3

Raising Nerds Ch. 3

The Force is Strong with this one
Image from Megan Scheidler
There are certain things in life that are the responsibility of every parent; teaching your kids how to ride a bike, drive a car, having the “sex talk”, and most importantly showing them Star Wars. Star Wars is a sacred thing in the hearts of most nerds.  To be able to pass on that love to my kids was almost a religious experience.. It was something I had been looking forward to since my first son, Logan, was born. I was determined not to let anyone spoil Luke/Vader for him.  I wanted him to experience it the same way my generation did:  with complete surprise. 
Like all dads of my generation know, you start with Star Wars episode IV, where Star Wars was meant to start. When the prologue words started scrolling and my son was listening to me read, he was hooked. As we sat together on the couch and watched, his running commentary of questions and mispronunciations was adorable and hilarious. “Why is the green guy sleeping on the table?”, he asked after Han shot Greedo. “I want a Light Saver” and “Where is Yoda”, and “Is that the Depp Star” were some of my favorites from A New Hope.  When the final battle started and the assault on the Depp Star began (what does my kid have against Johnny Depp) he was in full battle mode. Sound effects, running, spinning and jumping were happening throughout the entire battle, and when it was over he was smiling and exhausted. That is how Star Wars was meant to be seen!
As we started to watch The Empire Strikes Back, things were about to get serious for both of us. From the very start of the movie, Logan was much quieter. There was so much going on and he was trying to take it all in. Every so often, he would ask a question, usually it was about the location of Yoda and how long until we would see him.  When Luke finally arrived on Dagobah and the x-wing crashed in the swamp, Logan became very concerned. Not because he thought that Luke or R2-D2 were in danger, rather he found R2 being spit out of the swamp hilarious. No, the thing that had his concern was how dirty the x-wing was. While Luke and Yoda talked, all he would ask about was the x-wing and if they would clean it. No amount of reassuring could ease his mind and when the x-wing sank completely into the swamp, that ship would never get cleaned. Of course, as soon as we see the ship clean and out of the swamp, his fears were immediately gone and we could focus on the situation at hand: Vader.
It is important to note that so far Logan had always thought of Vader as a bad guy that was trying to get Luke and Han; his world was about to be rocked. As things are reaching their climax in Bespin we find Luke and Vader in their first epic struggle. Logan was riveted to the screen all the while making light saber noises during the fight, and then it happens:
 
Darth Vader: Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke Skywalker: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!
Darth Vader: No. I am your father. 
Instantly, Darth Vader is no longer a bad guy in Logan’s mind. When I asked him why Vader was a good guy, Logan said something that will crush any father, no matter how strong their resolve.
Logan: Vader isn’t a bad guy, he’s a good guy.
Me: Why is that?
Logan: Because he is Luke’s daddy, not a bad guy.
Well, you can imagine I lost it.  I know we finished the episode, but after that I couldn’t really pay attention. I know Logan kept saying “let me go”, since I was hugging him so hard, but I think he got over it.
When we were finally able to watch The Return of the Jedi, Logan was still saying that Vader wasn’t a bad guy, he was Luke’s daddy. In fact, Logan really wanted Luke and his dad to get together and talk about stuff. I told him they would talk, but he would have to wait a little bit. He was a bit upset by this but was easily distracted as he kept seeing Boba Fett in Jabba’s Palace. He may be young, but the boy knows cool when he sees it. The battle between Luke and the rancor was probably the most intense part for him, and I am not sure he knew which side he wanted to win. Luke was Luke, but the rancor was like a giant puppy to him. So when Luke defeated it, I had to tell Logan that the rancor was fine, just sleeping because he was tired from playing.
For the majority of the movie, he was silent, just taking it in, but then comes the final battle. The space battle was met with stunned, mouth wide-open amazement. It was the coolest thing he had ever seen and he loved it. He was confused by the ewoks, like we all are, but still enjoyed the antics of Han and Chewbacca. The fight between Vader, Luke, and the Emperor was the moment he had been waiting for and he just wanted them to talk it out. He liked the light sabers, but that wasn’t what he wanted in this final moment. When the movie was all over he looked at me with a huge smile on his face and leaned in to give me a big hug. He loved every minute and then asked if there was more. I told him there was more, but it would have to wait for another day.
As my son and I watched all three movies of the original trilogy, the experience blew my expectations.   I was there when he first saw light sabers clash, I was there when Vader made his first appearance, I was there when the “Depp Star” got blown up, and I was there when He learned Vader was Luke’s daddy. In a way, these are firsts that every Nerd should have with their little nerds. Not just because they remind us of the first time that we watched these movies, but because they are special bonding times that bring us closer. These are moments that will always be special to me and Logan. Now, if I can just keep Logan from spoiling it for his little brother Luke.

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