A preface, if you will:
I have a morbid sense of humor, and well…I need it and won’t apologize for it. It came with the territory. I know Chelsea and I haven't shared much on here about my work, but let’s just say most people who call my place of employment dial a three digit number that most people learn by the time they start kindergarten. For this reason, I have a very different outlook on the world and mortality. The following might make sense to some and be a bit crazy to others. But, it’s my life.
A year or so ago – shortly after Some Boy was born – an idea was conceived in my little brain. As much as I love this kid, there may come a day where I will never come home. I thought to myself, “If I were to never come home, what would I leave behind for my children? What memories of me would actually remain?” Not knowing how old they would be, I could never know. So that's how “The Box” was born. To be honest, the actual box is not made yet, but the items are starting to come along.
The idea defined:
I'll make a wood box (similar to a small chest) and put in a bunch of items which I know I want my children to have someday (including the box itself). Some of the items are based on my love of their utility and some I chose based on their practicality and knowledge they require/instill. Collectively, they convey my belief in responsibility and what I would say is a minimal sense of self-reliance. I decided they would start getting one of the items every year after they turn five. By the time they turn eighteen, they would have learned what their dad liked, wanted them to know and to have. Hopefully, they can be a bit brighter than the touch screen-tapping counterparts they’re destined to share a classroom with.
The first item I got to put in their box was a small Swiss Army Knife. Regardless of gender, my kids would have gotten these. Another on was a map. It bugs the crap out of me that most people under 25 don’t know how to use a map unless it’s preceded by the word “Google.”
Items I'm still working on are watches of suitable quality (not digital because believe it or not, Chelsea can barely read a real watch). When they are in their teens, another higher grade pocket tool. A book of knots as well as a tritium compass and many other personal and private things just for us.
To further instill my love of adventure, I got some neat little beam headlights. I got the most powerful ones I could find from Energizer at Walmart – these things are 100 lumens so they can see up to 70 meters! They strap comfortably onto your head so you can have your hands free to do more important things than hold a flashlight. My hope, however fractional in this area, is that when the time comes for the boys to have these (probably around seven to ten years) they love going outside at night, looking at trees, listening for owls, chasing rabbits with the dogs and playing ‘coal miner.' Sure they’re practical in a camping type way, but they’re also a lot of fun and enhance imaginative adventures. I mean, I was 23 when I ran around Yosemite in the middle of the night with my brother looking for bears (I did not say they lights made ME brighter, they just enhance the fun).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not waiting (or counting on) a dreaded day to come for the kids to get a piece of treasure from the box. It’s starting at five, whether I am breathing or not. I’m just glad I have cute kids. I’m glad I have a great wife. Okay…pretty cool dogs, too.
And I like the idea that at least some symbolic part of me can be passed on.